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article imageTruck with radioactive material stolen and found in Mexico

By Valerie Benguiat     Dec 5, 2013 in World
Mexico - Last Monday, a truck carrying radioactive medical materials was stolen from a gas station on its way from Tijuana to Mexico City. The truck and most of the material has been recovered.
Shortly after the 2.5 ton Volkswagen Worker was stolen, and due to the dangerous nature of its contents, Mexican authorities informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of the theft.
The truck was carrying a device for cancer treatment containing a radioactive source, cobalt-60. It was going to be disposed of close to Mexico City in a safe site, when in the state of Hidalgo the truck driver was threatened by two armed burglars who made him step down from the vehicle, tied him and left him in an abandoned site.
According to CNN: Mexican authorities said they found the stolen truck and recovered likely all of the radioactive cobalt Wednesday in a remote area about 40 km (25 miles) away from where it was taken.
The material was adequately contained, until the thieves opened it to later abandon it one kilometer away from the truck. Authorities expect that the thieves will present signs of radiation exposure and might show up at a clinic.
Local authorities set up a 500-meter perimeter around the site where the container was found. They are also evaluating whether any residents were exposed.
Cobalt-60 cannot be used to produce a weapon of mass destruction, but it can be used to produce a "dirty-bomb". According to CNN, the IAEA director warned that a dirty bomb: detonated in a major city could cause mass panic, as well as serious economic and environmental consequences.
Police secure the area after dangerous radioactive medical material were found on a truck in the tow...
Police secure the area after dangerous radioactive medical material were found on a truck in the town of Hueypoxtla, near Mexico City December 4, 2013. Mexican police have found dangerous radioactive medical material stolen by thieves that the United Nations said could provide an ingredient for a "dirty bomb"
With permission by Reuters / Henry Romero
More about Radioactive material, Mexico, medical material, Tijuana, hidalgo
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