Stolen Radioactive Material Found in Mexico

Truck carrying radioactive isotope cobalt-60 was stolen near Mexico City

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Update 7:20 p.m. EST

Radioactive material that had gone missing near Mexico City this week was found Wednesday near where the stolen truck that had been transporting the material was located, according to the country’s nuclear safety director.

The box that had been holding the radioactive “cobalt-60”, which authorities described as “extremely dangerous,”  had been found empty earlier Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reports. The material was found about a half-kilometer from the town of Hueypoxtla, population 4,000, but poses no threat and is not cause for evacuation, officials said.

The truck transporting the radioactive isotope was stolen Monday in central Mexico State while en route from a hospital – where the material was being used for radiotherapy – to a radioactive waste storage center, NBC News reports. In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the radioactive material was properly stored in the truck at the time of the theft; however, “the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged.”

There have been cases of people stealing radioactive material without knowing about it, and an IAEA spokeswoman said that may have been the case with the stolen truck in Mexico.

Update: This story was updated to reflect that the stolen radioactive material has been found.