In light of the recent spate of emergency drills and nuclear attack preparedness plans across the United States, it seemed notable that an unknown amount of stolen radioactive material has prompted the head of national emergency services to issue an alert today in nine Mexican states.
A vehicle carrying mobile industrial radiography equipment filled with Iridium-192 was stolen in the city of Tlaquepaque in the state of Jalisco, and as Reuters reports, the alert and search for the stolen material covers the states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan San Luis Potosi, Durango and Zacatecas, according to a post on Luis Felipe Puente's Twitter account.
Puente encouraged people with information about the stolen material to report it but added: "don't open it."
Somewhat shockingly, theft of radioactive material in Mexico is a somewhat of a common occurrence. Last year a container of radioactive substance used for industrial X-rays was also taken along with a car. Similar occurrences also happened in April 2015 and in July 2014. In December 2013, thieves – apparently unaware of the contents of their heist – stole a vehicle containing medical equipment with highly radioactive cobalt-60, a material that could be used to produce a “dirty bomb,” according to the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.