One day after stolen radioactive material was found abandoned in a rural field in central Mexico, authorities began the process of safely packaging the material in order to move it to a waste site.
The shipment of highly radioactive cobalt-60, which the International Atomic Energy Agency classified as “extremely dangerous,” was found removed from its protective container on Wednesday. On Thursday, Mexican officials began the process of transferring the material into a secure container so it can be taken to a waste site. According to Juan Eibenschutz, director-general of the National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards, the operation could take up to two days.
“It’s a very delicate operation,” Eibenschutz told the AP. “What’s important is that the material has been located and the place is being watched to guarantee no one gets close.” Once the material is packed into a receptacle that can contain its radioactivity, it will be transported to a waste site for confinement.