Dec 4, 2013 11:27 AM by Brian White
A white Volkswagen truck that was stolen Monday at a gas station in Mexico is no ordinary truck - officials say it's carrying "extremely dangerous" radioactive material. Authorities are conducting a wide search for the truck, which had been heading to a disposal facility, and warning the thieves that they could face serious health problems.
Mexico's nuclear safety group, known as CNSNS, issued a public alert Tuesday, saying that federal, state, and local authorities are looking in at least six states for the Volkswagen Worker truck, which is equipped with a crane and bears the license plate 726-DT-8.
From the BBC:
"The radiotherapy source was being taken from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a waste storage center.
"It was stolen near the capital, Mexico City.
"Mexico's Nuclear Security Commission said that at the time of the theft, the cobalt-60 teletherapy source was 'properly shielded.' "
That shielding would seem to come from the equipment itself. In the truck, it was placed in a sealed wooden box that has steel edging.
Mexican officials have informed the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, of the theft.
The U.N. agency says the radioactive source material "could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged."