Stolen Radioactive Material Recovered in Mexico

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 4 2013 8:52 PM

Stolen Radioactive Material Recovered in Mexico

A truck transporting cobalt-60 was stolen by gunmen on Monday at a gas station in Mexico.

Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Mexican officials said on Wednesday they have recovered radioactive material that went missing earlier this week. On Monday, a truck carrying the radioactive material cobalt-60 was stolen near Mexico City causing alarm because of the dangerous material’s potential to be used in constructing a “dirty bomb.”

The radioactive material, which is used in antiquated radiation therapy equipment in Mexico, was found in an empty lot a half-mile from the town of Hueypoxtla and mile-and-a-half from where it was stolen, but “posed no threat or a need for an evacuation,” Mexican officials told the Associated Press. The cobalt-60 was removed from its shipping container, officials told the AP, with one official predicting “anyone involved in opening the box would be dead within three days.” According to the BBC, the material “had been tampered with, but the material had not been removed from its protective casing.”


An official from Mexico’s National Nuclear Security Commission told local media the recovered radioactive material is not a health risk to the nearby population, the BBC reports.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.


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