Truck Carrying Dangerous Radioactive Waste Stolen

by Christopher Freeburn | December 4, 2013 11:11 am

iStock 000010748417XSmall Truck Carrying Dangerous Radioactive Waste Stolen[1]International authorities are scrambling to find a truck that was stolen in Mexico[2].

Local police say the vehicle was transporting cobalt-60 used in medical devices at a Tijuana hospital to a secure disposal and storage center when it was stolen. Cobalt-60 is radioactive and could be used to build a so-called “dirty bomb,” in which a conventional explosive is used to scatter radioactive material, potentially contaminating a large area, Reuters notes.

The truck was stolen just outside Mexico City. The United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not reveal how much cobalt-60 was inside the vehicle when it went missing, but did note that the material was properly contained for shipping.

Mexican police are searching for the vehicle. The cobalt-60 could pose a danger to people close enough for exposure to radiation if the containers are breached.

Exposure to radiation produced by radioactive waste like cobalt-60 can lead to an increased risk of cancer.

Every year, the IAEA receives reports of more than 100 incidents involving radioactive material.

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