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Truck with dangerous radioactive materials hijacked in Mexico - IAEA

Published time: December 04, 2013 09:45
Edited time: December 04, 2013 23:12
Photo from

Photo from

A truck carrying radioactive material was hijacked in central Mexico on Monday, the UN’s nuclear watchdog reported.

Photo from

The truck was reportedly carrying outdated medical equipment used to perform radiotherapy when it was hijacked at a gas station in Tepojaco, Hidalgo – near Mexico City – on Monday, the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards (CNSNS) said.

The white Volkswagen Worker semi-trailer had reportedly stopped en route from a hospital in Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage center.

On Wednesday, the truck was found not far from where it was stolen outside of Mexico City -- a Mexican nuclear official quoted by the AP said the stolen container carrying the radioactive material was found empty.

CNSNS authorities said the cobalt-60 teletherapy source posed no health risk as long as the part of the equipment housing the radioactive source is not cracked.

"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 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

"The Mexican authorities are currently conducting a search for the source and have issued a press release to alert the public," the UN nuclear watchdog said. Local authorities have urged calm, telling the public the threat posed by the stolen equipment is minimal.

According to the IAEA, sealed radioactive sources are widely used in medicine for the treatment of malignant diseases and for blood irradiation. Cobalt-60 sources are often deployed in teletherapy, a form of external beam radiotherapy used to treat cancer, and brachytherapy –  also known as internal radiotherapy.

FIG. VI-4. Cobalt-60 unit used for teletherapy (Typical source activity: up to 370 TBq (10 kCi) 60 Co). (Image from

Experts have previously warned that such radioactive sources have long been held by hospitals without sufficient security. Although such materials cannot be employed in a conventional nuclear weapon, they can be put in a so-called “dirty bomb,” a speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives.

Comments (49)


Matthew Robert Dolloff 07.12.2013 02:41

to my knowledge Colbalt 60 admits 1100 curies Idk where you got the data but if it is a fact those people are walking dead


Alleezae 05.12.2013 07:19

For states, it becomes a trend to opt for nuclear as much as possible despite of this fact that its waster radioactive material is equally dangerous to the humanity. If the radioactive cannot bumped up as a nuclear blast in fire but it stealthily and quietly affect the health of people severely. Lots of diseases can occur by loose handling of radioactive material. The after affects are not retained until any medication but it continued for many years. Nagasaki and Hiroshima still contained the radioactive radiations which cause people to suffer badly even today.


eric 04.12.2013 23:46

Dan Worth seems to know more than most about what has been done behind the backs of US citizens, because mainstream news has failed to properly report without covering up or outright lieing!

View all comments (49)
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