A truck carrying dangerous radioactive materials that could be used to assemble a “dirty bomb” was just stolen in Mexico, according to an announcement released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) early this morning. The truck was hijacked in Tepojaco near Mexico City as it was transporting a cobalt-60 teletherapy source from a Tijuana hospital to a radioactive waste storage center. Authorities say that the materials could be “extremely dangerous” if damaged or removed from their protective shielding.
The Mexican authorities are currently searching for leads on the source’s whereabouts with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Local media reports that armed men overtook the truck at a gas station on Monday morning. Though the source was developed for medical and industrial use, the radioactive material could be modified to pose a threat to the public as an explosive device.
Experts have long warned authorities about the risks posed by amassing large amounts of radioactive substances in hospitals and other areas with inadequate security measures. Last year, the IAEA reported on 17 cases of illegal possession of nuclear materials as well as 24 incidents of theft or loss across the world.
Via The Guardian