They Found The Stolen Truck Filled with Radioactive Material

When criminal started hijacking a hospital truck in Mexico recently, they probably didn't expect the haul to include dangerous radioactive material. Now the U.N,'s nuclear watchdog is worried. 

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Update 6:11 p.m. The truck was found Wednesday not far from where it was stolen, Mexico's CNSNS nuclear authority announced. Unfortunately the cargo was empty, according to the AP. But, the CNSNS announced later the radioactive material was found about 1 kilometre from the truck.

Original: The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog is raising warning flags after learning that some potentially dangerous materials may have fallen into the wrong hands. The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Wednesday that someone stole a truck transporting cobalt-60, a radioactive material used in cancer treatments, en route to a nuclear waste disposal site in Tijuana.

On Monday, December 2, thieves hijacked the truck in Tepojaco, just outside of Mexico City, and now possess some "very dangerous" nuclear material, according to the IAEA. The AFP explains

The material could not be used in a conventional nuclear weapon but could in theory be put in a so-called "dirty bomb" -- an explosive device spreading the radioactive material over a wide area.

Such a "radiological dispersal device" or RDD would be hugely less lethal than an atomic bomb but is much easier to make and could still cause mass panic.

The criminals and the public are not in immediate danger, though, unless they quickly realize what they stole. "At the time the truck was stolen, the 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 saidThe hope is that whatever criminals hijacked the truck, didn't realize exactly what they were stealing. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.