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Device Containing Sealed Radioactive Material Goes Missing in Texas


A device containing radioactive material went missing in the Houston area, and authorities said Saturday they wanted to find it before anyone was hurt.

The X-ray camera contains radioactive material “encased in multiple layers of protection” so it is unlikely to pose a big threat unless it is completely dismantled, state health officials said .

“There’s a radioactive symbol on the side, but if someone were to get into the part of the capsule where the radioactive material is, it’s extremely dangerous, like losing fingers,” said Lara Anton, gatekeeper. word of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

She added: “Our goal is for people to let us know if they see it, so we can repossess it.”

An x-ray camera, which contains radioactive material sealed under protective layers, which went missing in Houston.Texas Department of State Health Services

The device, a kind of portable X-ray machine used to see hidden structures, is common in the construction and oil industries. He disappeared Thursday from a truck parked at a restaurant where workers went to buy lunch, Anton said.

A search for radioactive sources within an 8 km radius of the restaurant, just north of the town line, was unsuccessful, she said.

“Obviously we’ve contacted pawn shops before, because when this happens and someone tries to pawn it, pawn shops are on the prowl — and scrap places,” Anton said.

The 53-pound device is owned by Statewide Maintenance Company, according to a department statement.

In the past, the Department of Health Services described a similar device as safe if left undisturbed. “The entire camera is stored in a locked half-inch-thick steel overwrap box with radiation markings. Radiation levels outside of the camera itself are not hazardous “, he said in 2020.

In the spring of that year, an X-ray camera was found intact in the community of Stonewall after it was swept away by floodwaters aboard a contractor’s pick-up truck, service officials said at the time. health, according to NBC affiliate KXAN of San Antonio.

Health experts believed no radiation was emitted.

In February, a small, highly radioactive capsule that fell from a lorry in outback Australia was found by the side of a road after authorities scanned an area nearly the size of California.

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