Mexico's missing radioactive source found in field

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday that Mexican authorities confirmed they have found a radioactive source that has been missing since Dec. 2.

ComisiĆ³n Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias said law enforcement found the source material on Dec. 4, in a field near Hueypoxtla in the state of Mexico, which is near where the truck was stolen.

The cobalt-60 radioactive source was removed from its protective case, but police have secured the source. Authorities said there is no indication of damage or contamination.

The source has 3,000 curies and is Category 1, which is "extremely dangerous." If someone handled the source or was in contact with it for a few minutes, it might cause permanent injury. The IAEA said the source could be fatal if a person was unprotected for more than a few minutes.

Mexican authorities said they are working to assess radiation exposure to people who were near the source, and hospitals have been alerted to watch for patients presenting with symptoms of radiation sickness.

People who have been exposed to radiation are not a contamination risk to others, and IAEA said the general public is safe.

IAEA said it will remain in contact with Mexican authorities, and the CNSNS and the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares are preparing to recover the source material.