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A truck containing a potent radioactive isotope, cobalt 60, has been stolen in Mexico.
According to The New York Times, the isotope is normally used in hospitals but can be dangerous is used improperly. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that the theft has raised worries that the isotope could be used to create a bomb.
The IAEA said in a statement, "The Mexican authorities are currently conducting a search for the source and have issued a news release to alert the public."
The truck carrying the cobalt 60 was headed to a radioactive waste storage center from a Tijuana hospital when it was stolen near Tepojaco, which is close to Mexico City.
NBC News reports that the IAEA statement also noted that "the source was properly shielded" at the time of the theft. "However, the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding or if it was damaged."
A federal official suggested that the thieves might have been more interested in the truck when they stole the vehicle. The truck is a 2.5-ton Volkswagen truck that features an integrated crane.
Homeland Security was notified of the theft and noted that all border crossing points have devices that are capable of detecting radiation that cobalt 60 emits.
image: Wikimedia Commons