Home | National | Radioactive waste that could be used to make dirty bomb stolen from hospital truck

Radioactive waste that could be used to make dirty bomb stolen from hospital truck

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • Thieves drive off with van delivering toxic substance to waste facility
  • Cobalt-60 from old hospital equipment can be used in weapons

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 08:44 EST, 4 December 2013 | UPDATED: 08:53 EST, 4 December 2013

0

View
comments

A truck carrying radioactive material for medical treatment, which could be used in a dirty bomb, has been stolen in Mexico, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Details of how much cobalt-60 - a radioactive source - was on the truck when it was stolen on Monday has not been released by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The material could potentially be used to make a dirty bomb, where traditional explosives are used to spread radiation.

Stolen: A container of cobalt-60, similar to this one, has gone missing in Mexico

Stolen: A container of cobalt-60, similar to this one, has gone missing in Mexico

Mexican authorities told the IAEA that the truck, which had been delivering the toxic substance from a Tijuana hospital to a radioactive storage facility, was taken in Tepojaco, near Mexico City.

The white van delivering it was taken from a gas station as the driver stopped to refuel.

'At the time the truck was stolen, the [radioactive] source was properly shielded. However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged,' the IAEA statement said.

The agency has offered to help Mexican authorities, who it said were searching for the material and had alerted the public.

More than 100 incidents of thefts and other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive material are reported to the IAEA annually, the UN agency said earlier this year.

Because radioactive material is regarded as less hard to find and the device easier to manufacture, experts say a so-called 'dirty bomb' is a more likely threat than a nuclear bomb in any attack by militants.

Toxic: The decommissioned medical equipment, like the box above, is safe as long as no one tampers with it

Toxic: The decommissioned medical equipment, like the box above, is safe as long as no one tampers with it

Risk: Radioactive material used in hospitals, such as cobalt-60, could be turned into a dirty bomb

Risk: Radioactive material used in hospitals, such as cobalt-60, could be turned into a dirty bomb

Experts describe the threat of a crude fissile nuclear bomb, which is technically difficult to manufacture and requires hard-to-obtain bomb-grade uranium or plutonium, as a 'low probability, high consequence act' - unlikely but with the potential to cause large-scale harm to life and property.

But a dirty bomb is seen as a 'high probability, low consequence act' with more potential to terrorize than cause large loss of life.

At a nuclear security summit last year, IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano specifically singled out cobalt-60 among radioactive sources that could be used for such bombs.

'These materials, such as cobalt-60, could be used along with conventional explosives to make so-called dirty bombs. A dirty bomb detonated in a major city could cause mass panic, as well as serious economic and environmental consequences,' Mr Amano said, according to a copy of his speech.

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

MOST READ NEWS

 

  1. Conservative Christian politician Vance McAllister caught kissing staffer at party (4.00)

  2. Terrified pup trapped in icy river shows his boundless gratitude to man who came to his rescue (3.00)

  3. Chloe Campbell's distraught mother trapped in a 'living nightmare' (3.00)

  4. Tribal elder's advice to the giggling Cambridges as Kate recycles chic scarlet suit for trip to earthquake-hit Christchurch (1.00)

  5. Kim Kardashian denied access to Vanity Fair party (0)

  6. Russian troops threaten to shoot Ukrainian soldiers in tense stand-off (0)

  7. Drunk tractor driver decapitates three people in head-on crash (0)

  8. Boxer vows to fight on – after 51st defeat in row (0)

  9. Forbes rich list names world’s youngest billionaires (0)

  10. Spoiled’ teen takes parents to court (0)

  11. Pregnant woman drives kids into ocean in Florida (0)

  12. Oprah Winfrey tells Lindsay Lohan to ‘cut the bull****’ in trailer for new reality show Lindsay (0)

  13. Mickey the pit bull who mauled four-year-old boy 'for grabbing his bone' wins last-minute reprieve from judge - but will be neutered and defanged (0)

  14. Katheryn Deprill reunited with birth mother who left her in a Burger King bathroom as a newborn after launching viral Facebook campaign (0)

  15. College fisherman catches 700-pound, 14-foot hammerhead shark off the beaches of southern Florida (0)

  16. Ex-girlfriend reveals Army soldier was expecting 'a lot of money' the day his pregnant wife was found 'suffocated to death with plastic bag' after sex game (0)

  17. Vandals glue a dozen RAZOR BLADES all over children's playground equipment and injure a 2-year-old boy (0)

  18. Christopher Reeves busted on DUI and meth charges wearing Superman T-shirt (0)

  19. Smart move! NJ man released from prison after 15 years for holding up children's shoe store goes straight back to rob the SAME shop the following day for just $389 (0)

  20. Kayaker films his incredible 'South Florida sleigh ride' after hooking a hammerhead SHARK that pulled him miles out to sea at 30mph for TWO HOURS (0)

  21. You're gone? Good: Fury over teacher's shocking Facebook post about a 16-year-old student who'd killed himself 24 hours earlier (0)

  22. Iowa couple who found Ruby the scabby puppy abandoned on the street in Bali nurse her back to full health (0)

  23. 'Tame you like a little wild animal': Love letters between James Bond author Ian Fleming and Austrian lover revealed (0)

  24. Video shows shocking abuse of blonde woman at Cairo University (0)

  25. Chinese woman posts picture of herself boiling and skinning cat to make SOUP (0)

  26. The tensions and tears when a mother and daughter have a baby at the same time (0)

  27. Are you a parsnip or rhubarb? New body shape guide uses different fruit and vegetables to describe our figures (0)

  28. WATCH: Dramatic rescue of trapped man in Houston apartment fire (0)

  29. French satellite spots 122 objects up to 75ft long in Indian Ocean that could be debris from doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (0)

  30. MH370 sought after by Australian warship with high hopes (0)

  31. Barack Obama and David Cameron played video game 'nukes on the loose' (0)

  32. MH370 pilot upset over wife moving out and in 'no state of mind to be flying' says friend (0)

  33. WATCH: Crash of Blue Line train at O’Hare airport (0)

  34. Copenhagen Zoo kills four lions, weeks after shooting giraffe (0)

  35. 122 objects sighted in search for Flight 370 (0)

  36. Push is on to add aerial arsenal to fight wildfires (0)

  37. Flavor Flav's speeding trial postponed until May (0)

  38. 'How I Met Your Mother' ratings surge (0)

  39. Patrick Dempsey's mother dies of cancer at 79 (0)

  40. Robin Roberts to guest judge 'Dancing With the Stars' (0)

  41. Video of moment derailed O'Hare train careered up stairway (0)

  42. Close-up pictures of American Alligator show why they're among most feared reptiles (0)

  43. 'Goodbye YouTubers': Grandfather who became an internet sensation with his home-made videos telling heartfelt and funny anecdotes about his life passes away (0)

  44. North Korea fire mid-range missiles into sea in military tests (0)

  45. Daughter of Uzbekistan's dictator 'being held under house arrest and was beaten up by her father's security forces' (0)

  46. Prince George's new Spanish nanny faces claims she's on tax dodgers list in hometown (0)

  47. Parents of British woman who 'fell overboard' from Disney cruise ship sue for £45k (0)

  48. Texting may cause heart disease and breathing problems in later life, study claims (0)

  49. What goes around comes around? Cops catch graffiti artist caught tagging police station... then spray him in the FACE with his own paint (0)

  50. Warm Wednesday but storm is headed to Colorado (0)

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Rate this article

0

Photo Galleries

PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity Awkward family photos 
 
UPDATED: Faces of Meth PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter

More galleries ››