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Mexican truck with radioactive load stolen
#1
VIENNA (AP) — A truck carrying an extremely dangerous radioactive substance has been stolen in central Mexico, the U.N. nuclear agency said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said the truck was carrying cobalt-60, used for radiotherapy treatment to combat cancer. An IAEA statement Wednesday said the truck was stolen Monday while taking the material to a radioactive waste storage center from the northern city of Tijuana.

The IAEA said the heist occurred in Tepojaco, a town near Mexico City, and describes the load as "extremely dangerous" if damaged or removed from its protective shielding. It said Mexican authorities are searching for the material.

The statement provided no further details.

The National Commission for Nuclear Safety and Safeguards of Mexico's Secretary of Energy said that the radioactive material found inside the medical equipment is properly shielded and poses no risk as long as its container is not fractured or otherwise altered.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/ar...033617.php
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#2
Mexico: Stolen radioactive material found

(CNN) -- A pair of thieves in Mexico may have stolen more than they bargained for when they targeted a truck this week.

The stolen vehicle was carrying delicate cargo -- a radioactive element used for medical purposes that also can be used to make a so-called dirty bomb.

Mexican authorities said they'd found the stolen truck and at least some of the radioactive cobalt on Wednesday.

But officials aren't sure whether any of the cobalt is missing, said Juan Eibenschutz Hartman, head of Mexico's National Commission for Nuclear Security and Safeguards.

The container containing cobalt was found about a kilometer away from the truck and had been opened, he said.

Authorities were preparing to send a special team to the area, where radiation has been detected, Eibenschutz said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced the theft on Wednesday.

Mexican authorities told the IAEA that the truck, which was transporting cobalt-60 from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center, was stolen Monday in Tepojaco, near Mexico City.

An early theory is that the thieves were unaware of what exactly they had taken.

"At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded," the IAEA said. "However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged."

Cobalt-60 is used in radiotherapy and in industrial tools such as leveling devices and thickness gauges. Large sources of cobalt-60 are used to sterilize certain foods, as the gamma rays kill bacteria but don't damage the product, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If released into the environment, the radioactive material can harm people.

And experts consider cobalt-60 one of the "candidates" for making dirty bombs.

Bombs made with cobalt-60 "pose a threat mainly because even a fraction of a gram emits a huge number of high-energy gamma rays; such material is harmful whether outside or inside the body," according to a 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service.

In a speech last year, the IAEA director warned that such a dirty bomb "detonated in a major city could cause mass panic, as well as serious economic and environmental consequences."

Preliminary information suggests that the thieves did not know what the truck's cargo was when they stole it, said Jaime Aguirre Gomez, deputy director of radiological security at the National Commission for Nuclear Security and Safeguards.

The shielding that protects the cobalt-60 is designed so that the radioactive source is difficult to extract, Aguirre said. The casing is designed not to be opened or perforated easily.

The truck and its cargo went missing early Monday after the driver of the white 2007 Volkswagen truck and an assistant had stopped to rest at a gas station, local prosecutor Marcos Morales told CNN.

At around 1 a.m. Monday, a man armed with a handgun knocked on the passenger window. When the passenger rolled down his window, the gunman demanded the keys to the vehicle, Morales said.

Both the driver and his assistant were taken to an empty lot where they were bound and told not to move. They heard one of the assailants use a walkie-talkie type device or phone to tell someone, "It's done," Morales said.

Mexico alerted the IAEA to the theft, following international protocol, Aguirre said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is assisting with the investigation into the stolen truck, Mexican authorities said.

The U.S. government has sensors at border crossings and sea ports to prevent radioactive materials from entering the country. This includes large stationary sensors designed to scan vehicles going through land border crossings as well as pager-size devices carried by agents.

Some of this equipment is sensitive enough that it has been set off by people who had recently undergone radiation therapy, according to a U.S. law-enforcement source.

According to the Congressional Research Service report, in Thailand in 2000, a disused cobalt-60 source was stored outdoors and bought by two scrap collectors, who took it to a junkyard where it was cut open.

Some workers suffered burn-like injuries, and eventually three people died and seven others suffered radiation injuries, the report says. Nearly 2,000 others who lived nearby were exposed to radiation.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/04/world/amer...ive-theft/
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#3
Not to worry ... about radiation ... the Japanese intend to start releasing radio active water into the ocean .... seem the "storage tank" solution isn't working out to well, haven't enough room for all the tanks and workers/equipment to "fix" said mess ...

Appears its ok in the ocean .... just let the winter rains do their stuff ... imagine the TJ River may change a bit ... may be a bit warmer for the residents ... in some way

Hey ... Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ... Big GrinBig Grin
Suicide Hot line, Pete here, please hold
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#4
They only wanted the truck, but now that the thieves know what they have they must be trying to find a way to sell it. Hopefully they opened it up and got a big dose.
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#5
Based on the laxness of this whole incident, one has to wonder if anyone even knows how many pellets were being transported to begin with....Likely it was simply marked "Caja de cobalto" on the manifest. IF there even was a manifest.

Quote:http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/ar...033617.php

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck transporting the material was abandoned in central Mexico, the country's nuclear safety director said.

The highly radioactive material had been removed from its container Confused, officials said, and one predicted that anyone involved in opening the box could be in grave danger of dying within days.

Commission physicist Mardonio Jimenez said it was the first time cobalt-60 had been stolen and extracted from its container. The only threat was to whoever opened the box and later discarded the pellets of high-intensity radioactive material that was being transported to a waste site. It had been used in medical equipment for radiation therapy.

"The person or people who this took out are in very great risk of dying," Jimenez said, adding that the normal survival rate would be between one and three days. Angel

He said there was no word so far of anyone reporting to area hospitals with radiation exposure. He said those who exposed themselves to the pellets could not contaminate others.

Federal police and military units on the scene put up a cordon of 500 meters (yards) around the site.

Before the container was found, he said the thieves most likely wanted the white 2007 Volkswagen cargo vehicle with a moveable platform and crane.

On average, a half dozen thefts of radioactive materials are reported in Mexico each year and none have proven to be aimed at the cargo itself, he said. [That's 6 too many]

According to the complaint of this theft, a truck marked "Transportes Ortiz" left Tijuana on Nov. 28 and was headed to the storage facility when the driver stopped to rest at a gas station in Tepojaco, in Hidalgo state north of Mexico City.

Eibenschutz said the transport company did not follow proper procedures and should have had GPS and security with the truck.

"The driver also lacked common sense because he decided to park along a highway so he could sleep," Eibenschutz said.

The company couldn't immediately be located for comment. One Mexico City company called "Transportes Ortiz" said the truck was not theirs and they had nothing to do with the incident. Rolleyes

Eibenschutz had said early in the day that direct exposure to cobalt-60 could result in death within a few minutes, but Jimenez said the pellets involved were sealed. [Earlier they said the container had been opened....Which is it?]

The health risk depends on time of exposure and distance to the pellets, said Dr. Fred Mettler, a University of New Mexico's radiology professor and a U.S. representative to the U.N. on radiation safety.

"If you hold the source in your hand for five or six or eight minutes you are probably going to get enough radiation to your whole body that may well kill you," he said. "But if somebody is across the street, they are not going to enough to really make them sick." [What about the investigators or citizens who found the unsealed box and the pellets? Were they in radiation suits?....Are they going to get sick or even die? This whole thing is a Cluster fuk]
Vivo Aztland!

My posts often contain so called satire and parody with supposedly nuggets of truth thrown in; any alleged resemblance to persons living or dead is suppose to be coincidental.
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#6
They did not follow protocols, which required the truck have security and a GPS installed. Ni modo, it's Mexico.
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#7


Más vale pocos pelos, pero bien peinados.
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#8
a lot of people will die from this. If a grain is deadly- imagine how much aea is now exposed. More would have died if they knew what the cargo was and sold it to terrorists/narcos. No doubt the USA has people on site following the glow...
BajaNoMas= News, Facts, Stats, Videos, Pics and Links- because presenting the truth to the public is not a negative campaign "Decir la verdad no es ninguna campaña negra".
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#9
Now there's a thought Nuclear Power Generation from TJ .... think of the jobs ... and cheap power ... there maybe some Health and Environmental trade off's ... but, I'm sure they can be worked out just like in the United States ... They are "EXEMPTED" for any and all liability ... Now that is Republican's and Democrats working together solving problems ... Thank God they don't work full time at what they do ... just saying Big GrinBig Grin
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#10
Police block Mexico hospital, 6 may have radiation exposure

PACHUCA, Mexico (AP) — Federal police blocked access Friday to a central Mexico hospital where six people were reported to have been admitted with radiation exposure.

An official familiar with the case confirmed Mexican media reports that the six have been admitted to the general hospital in the city of Pachuca and may have been exposed to a stolen source of cobalt-60.

The official, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media, said only one person was dizzy and vomiting, which are symptoms of radiation poisoning.

The atomic energy agency said the cobalt has an activity of 3,000 curries, or Category 1, meaning "it would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period in the range of a few minutes to an hour."

The missing shipment of radioactive cobalt-60 was found Wednesday about 40 kilometers (24 miles) from where it had been stolen early Monday.

A cargo truck hauling the cobalt-60 was taken from a gas station in the central state of Hidalgo, where Pachuca is located. The material had been removed from obsolete radiation therapy equipment at a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana and was being transported to nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City.

http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/daily...963f4.html
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