Radioactive Material Stolen in Mexico

Image Source: DOD

Image Source: DOD

Mexico City, Mexico (TFC) – A batch of iridium-192 marked “X-571” was lost when the container truck carrying it was stolen.  The truck was stolen in Cardenas.

This is the latest in a string of thefts that began in 2013, alll of which have involved radioactive material. The material stolen is highly radioactive. Authorities have stated that if the material is discovered, citizens should establish a thirty-yard perimeter and call federal authorities immediately.

In the previous instances, the trucks were the targets of the thefts rather than the material inside. It is likely that this is a similar scenario, however, this is not a situation that can be taken lightly. The stolen material could be used to manufacture “dirty bombs.” A high explosive that disperses the material over a large area has the ability to kill thousands if the device was detonated in a densely populated area. A blast the size of the Oklahoma City bomb could spread the radioactive material over miles.

As terrifying as that prospect is, the most likely scenario is that the radioactive material will be found abandoned somewhere. This was the case in Mexico after the theft of a batch of cobalt-60 in 2013. The material was found abandoned in the middle of a cornfield.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been gravely concerned about the threat posed by the loss or theft of radioactive material that has been left unsecured in hospitals.

A reminder was put out by Mexican authorities repeatedly in the areas around Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, and Veracruz:

“Being close to this quantity of unprotected radioactive material for hours or days could be fatal.”

Later, the interior ministry said that without proper protection:

“this source could cause permanent injuries to the person who handles it or who has been in contact with it for a brief time (minutes or hours).”

This situation will likely be capitalized on by US politicians that seek to militarize the US border under any guise they can find.