Halliburton Finds Radioactive Rod Lost in Texas

Crew used it to find fracking sites in the desert

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 8, 2012 6:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Halliburton finally tracked down the radioactive rod it lost in Texas about a month ago, ending fears that someone might discover it and suffer permanent injury, the Guardian reports. A three-man company crew lost the rod while identifying possible fracking sites between Pecos and Odessa on Sept. 11. Since then, the 7-inch rod, marked "Danger Radioactive: Do not handle," had been lying on a road in the Texas desert.

The national guard, police officers, and Halliburton workers all searched for the rod, which the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said "could cause permanent injury to a person who handled" it. The agency said the rod's source of radiation—called americium-241/beryllium, or Am-241—would likely take hours to cause health problems, but after a few days or weeks "could possibly—although it is unlikely—be fatal." It was the NRC's first case of a lost radioactive rod in 5 years.

This undated photo shows a small stainless steel cylinder about 7 inches long, which went missing by a Halliburton crew transporting it from a well outside Pecos to another well south of Odessa.
This undated photo shows a small stainless steel cylinder about 7 inches long, which went missing by a Halliburton crew transporting it from a well outside Pecos to another well south of Odessa.   (AP Photo/Texas Department of State Health)
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