Truck Stolen in Mexico With Radioactive Cargo Is Found

Container of dangerous cobalt is discovered nearby

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 4, 2013 7:01 PM CST

(Newser) – Police in Mexico have recovered a container of radioactive material that may have been stolen inadvertently by two thieves who hijacked a truck, reports the AP. Authorities found the abandoned truck in rural central Mexico and the container of cobalt-60 about a half-mile away. It had been opened, and police can't say for sure whether any had been taken, reports CNN. But if their theory is correct that two men stole the truck without having a clue about its cargo, the thieves might be in for some serious health problems if they opened the container without proper protection.

"This is a radioactive source that is very strong," says a nuclear safety official in Mexico. The cobalt had been used in medical equipment, and it was being shipped to a nuclear waste site in the state of Mexico, near Mexico City, when the truck was stolen. Because cobalt is an ingredient in so-called dirty bombs, the US Department of Homeland Security is assisting in the investigation.

This image released by Mexico shows a piece of machinery that was part of the truck's stolen cargo.
This image released by Mexico shows a piece of machinery that was part of the truck's stolen cargo.   (AP Photo/CNSNS)
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