NNSA recovers radiological device from Boston hospital

The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Friday that it successfully recovered a disused, high-activity cesium-137 device from Massachusetts General Hospital and permanently disposed of it.

The act was part of an initiative led by the NNSA to prevent radiological and nuclear material from getting into the hands of terrorists. The device removed from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston contained cesium-137, a material which could be used to make a dirty bomb.

"This operation is a key part of the NNSA's broad strategy to strengthen both U.S. and global security by keeping dangerous nuclear and radiological material safe and secure," NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington said. "Today's announcement is a good example of how NNSA utilizes its unique expertise and assets at the national laboratories to partner with local communities and other agencies to make our cities and those around the world safer and more secure."

The NNSA, Massachusetts General, state and local officials worked together on the mission to remove the device. It was removed in two shipments and transported to a federal facility for permanent disposition.

The NNSA works with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other partners to locate and dispose of nuclear and radiological materials. To date, the NNSA has recovered approximately 33,000 disused radioactive sources in the U.S., resulting in the elimination of more than 1,000,000 curies of nuclear and radiological activity.