Dangerous Radioactive Waste Stolen In Mexico During Transport – IAEA “Level 5” Danger To Human Health…

update*Update* Reuters is reporting the nuclear material has been recovered.

“Both the container and the radioactive source have been located,” said Mardonio Jimenez Rojas, an official at the commission, told Reuters. “The radioactive source was removed from its container and was found a kilometer away.”  (link)

Another reason to worry about an unsecure U.S. border.   It is well known that various terrorist enterprises, including Hezzbollah and al Shabbab, have franchise operations in/around Mexico.   The radioactive product stolen, Cobalt-60, has the potential to become a significant element in a “dirty bomb”.    Cobalt-60 is used in medical radiation treatments for cancer patients, it is the targeting radioactive element used in a gamma knife.     Unprotected exposure to cobalt 60 is deadly.  A massive search is underway to locate the stolen container, U.S. ports and border agencies have been put on high-alert.

 VERACRUZ, Mexico –  A stolen container of highly radioactive material has been found empty, Mexico’s nuclear safety director said Wednesday.

Juan Eibenschutz says radioactivity has been detected about a half mile from where the stolen truck and empty container were found in the state of Mexico.

He says authorities have cordoned off the area.

The truck was hauling extremely dangerous radioactive material from used medical equipment when it was stolen from a gas station in central Mexico, and authorities had sent out an alert in six central states and the capital to find it, Mexican officials said earlier Wednesday.

The truck was carrying a metal container of cobalt-60 headed to a nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, Eibenschutz said. Though the container is heavily sealed in lead, designed to be difficult to break and to survive accidents intact, he said it contains an amount of radioactive material that could do serious damage if opened.

missing cobalt 60 - 1Direct exposure would result in death within a few minutes, he added.

“This is a radioactive source that is very strong,” Eibenschutz told The Associated Press on Wednesday, adding that is can be almost immediately fatal, depending on proximity. “The intensity is very big if it is broken.”

Eibenschutz didn’t know the exact weight, but that it was the largest amount stolen in recent memory, and the intensity of the material caused the alert. Local, state and federal authorities, including the military, are searching for the truck.

missing cobalt 60The material was used for obsolete radiation therapy equipment that is being replaced throughout Mexico’s public health system. It was coming from the general hospital in the northern border city of Tijuana, Eibenshutz said.

The thieves most likely wanted the white 2007 Volkswagen cargo vehicle with a moveable platform and crane.  (read more)

This entry was posted in Death Threats, Mexico, Military, Terrorist Attacks, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Dangerous Radioactive Waste Stolen In Mexico During Transport – IAEA “Level 5” Danger To Human Health…

  1. auscitizenmom says:

    I believe I just heard on Bret Baer that the theives had taken the material out of the case and run off with it. They said the radiation would kill them. If true, that means that they had some idea of what it was.


  2. czarowniczy says:

    If they truly are ladrones estúpidos they probably have a better chance of getting wasted by other criminales in the DF than croaking from the exposure. If they have the cobalt-60 in their pockets it won’t kill them immediately, but they shouldn’t fill in their dance cards too far into the future. Thing is, I still can’t figure out why they’d not only hijack one plain-jane van out of a seas of vehicles, but one that just happened to be carrying a load of cobalt-60, and then open a heavy sealed container that had ‘don’t do that’ notices all over it.
    I’m betting the US has loaned NEST detector-equipped ground and air vehicles to Mexico and they are out there looking for hot spots. Again, if they are street crooks that made the worst move of their lives the NEST folk should be able to find them – the gamma radiation is hard to ignore. If they can’t find it that means they might not be dos tontos muy tontos as they are purposely not only hiding but also shielding it. OK, they may have moved it out of the city but again, why?
    Too many questions unanswered and too many loose ends.
    Alejarse, nada que ver aqui


    • WeeWeed says:

      La Bomba.


    • LetJusticePrevail" says:

      True. There are LOTS of unanswered questions. One thing I have NOT seen is any description of the suspects. Also, the HP is reporting that the truck was found, and a “container” (crate?) was found *empty* about a kilometer away. This could mean that the cargo was the actual target, and the thieves transferred it to another vehicle. If the truck (itself) was the actual target, would they open the crate, take the contents and abandon the vehicle?


      • czarowniczy says:

        Perhaps, if they were not garden variety crooks but bad guys designing a glowing Xmas present, they brought their own carrying container that would shied the cobalt in fear that the container in the van may have had a tracking device built in – sorta like those expensive jeans at The Gap. Cobalt-60 puts out a lotta gamma radiation that travels quite a distance and can be picked up by specialized equipment looking for it against a cold background – stuff can even see through the smog and flies in the DF.


  3. Edward Teach says:

    Either this is a theft of opportunity committed by the average ignorant criminal, or it is a theft of planned precision. The problem of planned precision is transferring the radioactive material to a different containment vessel is stupid, and illogical.

    So one can easily conclude this will not end well for the criminals and whoever they involve in their crime.

    As for the potential of it being a threat to the US, it is safe to say the odds are astronomical, unless you believe our own government is capable of a false flag operation.


  4. Lulu says:

    Reuters has reported via the UK Telegraph that the ccntainer had been found and the material – near the truck. Some are skeptical, but the article does say that the hijackers appear to have been common criminals who took the truck in an area where that is a common occurrance. They have been exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation and could die.


  5. partyzant says:

    Go long tyvek bunny suits, duct tape and MSA respirators (ala walter White).
    Soooo.. was it 1, or 2, or something else?
    1) random thugs who just happen to jack a truck full of Cobalt 60… hey, it could happen!
    2) not random thugs who just happen to jack a truck full of Cobalt 60… hey, it could happen!
    I guess the big issue is if people believe in coincidences or not, pure random chance events.


  6. nyetneetot says:

    I misread the title “Dangerous Radioactive Waste Stolen In Mexico During Transport – IAEA “Level 5″ Danger To Human Health…”

    I thought it read; IKEA “Level 5”

    I guess I can calm down now.


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