Truck Carrying Radioactive Material Stolen in Mexico
Theft of cobalt-60 prompts fears of a dirty bomb
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 4, 2013 7:43 AM CST
A truck hauling medical radioactive materials has been stolen in Mexico, the IAEA says.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A truck laden with "dangerous" radioactive material used to fight cancer was stolen on Monday near Mexico City, says the International Atomic Energy Agency, per the BBC. "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 UN agency says. The truck was carrying cobalt-60, which the IAEA director has warned could be used in a dirty bomb.

The white Volkswagen Worker was ferrying the cobalt-60 between a Tijuana hospital and a radioactive waste storage site when armed men stole it; the theft occurred at a gas station in Tepojaco. Mexican and US officials are on the case, ABC News reports, and the IAEA is offering help. A dirty bomb would cause fewer fatalities than a nuclear bomb, but it could prompt "mass panic, as well as serious economic and environmental consequences." The IAEA gets more than 100 reports per year regarding similar thefts or illegal use of nuclear and radioactive material, Reuters notes.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Dec 4, 2013 12:07 PM CST
I love the way they keep using the old "dirty bomb" hype. If you do a little investigation you will find that they do not do much at all. Of course it does help to keep the unwashed masses scared.
Dec 4, 2013 11:00 AM CST
More reason to keep enacting legislation like the Patriot act, cuz y'know anyone of us could be hiding radioactive material. It could be used on America somehow and that would be the end of our "free society" we think we have, it's only a matter of time before a terrorist or our criminal government does something like this. USS Liberty anyone?
Dec 4, 2013 10:57 AM CST
"However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged," So stealing radioactive drugs gives you cancer, but if a doctor charges you thousands for it , it CURES cancer?