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12/4/13

For sale in Mexico: Truck, second hand, good condition, comes with own cobalt-60

The International Atomic Energy Agency today alerts that in Mexico a truck carrying a consignment of cobalt 60 on the way from a hospital to a nuclear waste storage location was hijacked (other reports say at a gas station) on the way from place A to place B. Here's he IAEA NR, here's how it starts:
"Mexico has informed the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) of the theft of a truck carrying a dangerous radioactive source used in medical treatment.  Mexico's "Comisión Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias (CNSNS)" said the truck, which was transporting the cobalt-60 teletherapy source from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage centre, was stolen in Tepojaco near Mexico City at around 08:00 UTC on 2 December 2013.  At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded."
IAEA also states that...
"...the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged."
...which we can place in the No Shit Sherlock file, as Cobalt 60 can be used safely by professionals in the treatment of cancerous tumours (from memory and sad though third party experience, brain tumours are treated this way) but in the wrong hands can be very, very nasty indeed (dirty bomb ingredient, for example).

UPDATE, Ah, they found it. All's well that (etc)