Mexico issues warning after radioactive iridium-192 stolen

Radioactive material stolen from Mexico

SAN JUAN DEL RIO, Mexico, Feb. 29 (UPI) — Mexico issued an alert in the state of Querétaro after a container carrying radioactive iridium-192 was taken during a vehicle theft.

The Interior Ministry’s National Coordination of Civil Protection said a Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck carrying the container was stolen in the city of San Juan del Rio Saturday evening.

Authorities warn that as long as the container is kept sealed, there is no risk of contamination.

“The source can be dangerous for people if not handled safely or if not protected from a physical point of view,” National Coordination of Civil Protection said in a statement Sunday. “It could cause permanent or serious injuries to the person handling it or if they are in contact with it for a short time, and if the material is not in its container it represents a major health risk. However, that source is not dangerous if it is not removed from its armor.”

Mexican authorities urged for the container to be returned promptly.

“Important: If you find the container, call the authorities. Do not open!” Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator of Civil Protection of the Ministry of the Interior, wrote on Twitter.