Mexico announces recovery plan to recover Category 1 radiation source

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Friday that Mexico is finalizing its plan to safely recover dangerous radioactive materials left in a field after the truck transporting it was stolen on December 2.

The ComisiĆ³n Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias, Mexico's nuclear regulating body, said it is devising a plan to recover the hazardous Category 1 cobalt-60 teletherapy nuclear source without putting those involved at risk of intense radiation exposure.

Cobalt-60 is a radiation source that was formerly used for cancer treatment. The abandoned source is lying in a field without its shielding near Hueypoxtla in Mexico State. There is a security cordon currently surrounding the area of the source until it can be safely and securely recovered.

An IAEA Category 1 source is considered extremely dangerous. It can cause permanent injury to any person that handles it or is in contact with it for more than a few minutes. It can be fatal to a person that comes into contact with it without protective clothing to help shield them from radiation.

Local hospitals have been notified to watch out for persons that may have symptoms of high radiation exposure. There is currently no evidence that the radiation source itself is damaged. There has also been no sign of contamination across the town of Hueypoxtla.