See also:The truck was found on Wednesday close to where it was stolen outside Mexico City. The thieves removed the radioactive material from a protective case, exposing them to dangerous levels of radiation then dumped it less than a mile away. The truck was stolen on Monday while it was taking cobalt-60 from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste-storage center, Mexican officials and the UN agency said earlier. "Both the container and the radioactive source have been located," said Mardonio Jimenez Rojas, an official at the commission, told Reuters. "The radioactive source was removed from its container and was found a kilometer away." "The thieves were exposed to radiation," he added, saying those exposed to the material could die. Experts were working on how to secure the radioactive material in a protective container, he said.
The vehicle was seized when the driver stopped at a gas station in the town of Temascalapa, 35 km (22 miles) northeast of Mexico City. Truck hijacking is common in Mexico and the theft occurred in the State of Mexico, which is not a drug cartel stronghold. "Our suspicion is that they had no idea what they had stolen. This is a area where robberies are common," Fernando Hidalgo, spokesman for the Hidalgo state prosecutor, said earlier. Mexico's national nuclear safety commission published photographs of the cargo as it was being prepared for shipment, showing a reinforced case containing the medical device, which holds the radioactive material and which looks like part of a car axle. The box is marked with the hospital's name and "radioactive materials."
Apart from peaceful medical and industrial applications, experts say, cobalt-60 can also be used in a dirty bomb in which conventional explosives disperse radiation from a radioactive source. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has stepped up calls on member states to tighten security to prevent nuclear and radioactive materials from falling into the wrong hands, made no mention of any such risk in its statement on Wednesday.
The IAEA also did not give details on how much radioactive material was in the vehicle when it was seized. Inside a teletherapy device, cobalt-60 is used to treat cancer. "At the time the truck was stolen, the (radioactive) 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 said in a statement. Cobalt-60, the most common radioactive isotope of the metal, has many applications in industry and in radiotherapy in hospitals. It is also used for industrial radiography to detect structural flaws in metal parts, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA said exposure to gamma radiation from cobalt-60 results in an increased risk of cancer.
DIRTY BOMB COULD CAUSE 'MASS PANIC'
The prospect that material that could be used in a radioactive dirty bomb had gone missing sparked an urgent two-day hunt that concluded when the material, cobalt-60, used in hospital radiotherapy machines, was found Wednesday afternoon along with the stolen Volkswagen truck. Mexican officials said no public health risk remained. The robbery occurred as the cobalt-60 was being driven from a public hospital in the border town of Tijuana to a storage facility in central Mexico. The driver and his assistant worked for a licensed private company and the lethal radioactive substance was sealed in the back.
The cargo truck, equipped with a crane, was nearing its destination in the darkness early Tuesday, several hours before the storage facility opened. While waiting for daybreak at a gas station in the state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City, the drivers were jumped by two gunmen who beat them and stole the truck, said Mardonio Jimenez, a physicist and high-ranking official with Mexicos nuclear safety commission.
This image released Dec. 4, 2013, by the National Commission on Nuclear Safety and Safeguards of Mexico's energy secretary shows a piece of machinery that is part of the cargo of a stolen truck hauling medical equipment with extremely dangerous radioactive material, in Tepojaco, Hidalgo state, north of Mexico City. The cargo truck was stolen from a gas station in central Mexico.
With lethal radioactive material on the loose, Mexican authorities put out a lookout across six states. The International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the material could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from its casing. I believe, definitely, that the thieves did not know what they had, they were interested in the crane, in the vehicle, Jimenez said.
The cobalt-60 was found, removed from its casing, in a rural area near the town of Hueypoxtla about 25 miles from where the truck was stolen. Jimenez suspected that curiosity got the better of the thieves and they opened the box. So far the carjackers have not been arrested, but authorities expect they will not live long. The people who handled it will have severe problems with radiation, he said. They will, without a doubt, die.
I agree. How stupid can the open borders people be to assume that everyone who illegally crosses our southern border is Mexican?As many middle eastern men as have been stopped (and released) coming across the border illegally who stole this might not be mexican at all. Or mexicans stole it and already sold it.
One thing is certain obama would fully support a nuclear bomb detonating in the US. Especially if it happened in the south ir in the heartland.