UPDATE: Police report that two men have been arrested in connection with the missing device. No further update on where the materials could be, or whether the two newly detained suspects were the same two as from before.
Hello, readers! Not to alarm you on this fine Monday, but police and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) have recently reported that they are currently elbows deep in a search to retrieve a lost Radioactive Dispersal Device (RDD) that went missing ten days ago.
No cause for alarm though, other than the fact that the paper that broke the story, New Straits Times, reports authorities are unsure where it’s gone, or why it went missing.
However, deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman is urging the public not to panic, and that the situation is under control.
Authorities report that the 23kg RDD, worth RM75,000 (US$18,000) was part of non-nuclear industrial radiography equipment, and contains the isotope Iridium-192, with a half-life of 73 days. It is a strong gamma ray emitter, and according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it’s the most popular radioactive material to steal en masse when attempting to make a dirty bomb.
Oh, good to know!
According to NST, two technicians who work for the company that lost the radioactive device claim that it went missing while being transported between Seremban and Shah Alam, a one-hour trip where both allege was non-stop.
Arriving in Shah Alam at 3am on the morning of August 10, they told police that they noticed the device was missing, and had perhaps fallen out of their pick-up truck on the way there.
Although a police report was filed after the men say they retraced their steps to try to find the missing equipment, authorities later arrested them for their suspicious account. They were released Friday due to lack of evidence to hold them.
Now, dear public, the AELB is asking for your help! Know anything about wayward nuclear materials finding their way unlawfully into the wrong hands? Holler at the police! If you’ve got them in your possession, don’t open it!
Meanwhile for the rest of us, we just Googled this as a refresher.