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State Officials Looking for Missing Radioactive Device

State Officials Looking for Missing Radioactive Device
This photograph depicts a device similar to one that was lost Sept. 11 in West Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that it contains potentially dangerous radioactive material and the device should not be handled.

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September 13, 2012, 3:43pm
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The Texas Department of State Health Services is looking for piece of equipment containing potentially dangerous radioactive material that was lost Tuesday by an oil and gas crew in a rural part of West Texas.

The sealed radioactive source, a small stainless steel cylinder and attached plug about 7 inches long and an inch across, contains Americium-241/Beryllium. The device is not considered highly radioactive but could expose someone who comes in close contact with it for an extended period of time to a harmful dose of radiation. The cylinder is stamped with the words “danger radioactive” and “do not handle” along with a radiation warning symbol. Anyone who sees it should stay at least 25 feet away and notify local law enforcement.

This type of device is used to evaluate oil and gas wells and is usually stored in a protective shielding. A Halliburton crew was transporting it from a well outside of Pecos to another well south of Odessa. On arrival, the crew noticed the shielding was not locked and the device was missing.

DSHS is assisting law enforcement with the search and investigating the loss of the radioactive material. DSHS is also requesting support from the 6th Civil Support Team, a Texas National Guard unit based in Austin with specialized equipment that can be used to locate radioactive material.

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