Missing radioactive device can cause skin burns, warn police

Reuters pic.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor police say the missing Radioactive Dispersal Device (RDD) contains substances that can cause health issues to anyone exposed to them.

State police chief Mazlan Mansor said the 23kg device contains 50 curies of Iridium-192 and is capable of causing nausea and headaches at exposure level of 500 mSv (millisievert).

Exposure exceeding 500 mSv will cause a person’s skin to burn, he added.

The device went missing while being transported in a pickup from Seremban to Shah Alam early this month.

The two technicians transporting the device were detained and remanded but were later released as there was no information to link them to the missing device.

The duo were reported to have loaded the device onto the back of their truck and left for their office in Shah Alam at 2am on Aug 10 after completing their task.

One of them lodged a police report after finding the device missing.

The technicians were using the device to check a suspected leak in a factory at Senawang, Negeri Sembilan.

Police have ruled out the possibility of terrorism links to the missing device.

“We urge the public to provide information related to the theft to our investigating officer, Yong Meng Heng, at 019-4743399 or any police station,” Mazlan said.

The RDD is a non-nuclear industrial radiography equipment.

Metallurgy expert Abd Nassir Ibrahim, the managing director of Madani NDT Training Centre, has been quoted as saying that the equipment was used in various engineering projects, including the building and maintenance of power plants, chemical and petrochemical plants, and automobile factories.

‘Missing radioactive material can easily be turned into bomb’