# [ RadSafe ] [EXTERNAL] Re: Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious thieves likely doomed

Thompson, Dewey L DThompson3 at ameren.com
Thu Dec 5 16:05:12 CST 2013

```Wow.  Not to pick on Joe specifically, but there have been several posts with quite a bit of "shooting from the hip" on dose rates from sources.

I have a Radiological Health Handbook (USDHEW-1970) book at my desk, well-worn with ratty tabs.

On Page 131, it says the Gamma Constant for Co-60 is 1.32 R/Hr - Ci @ 1 meter.

So. for 90 Ci Cobalt 60 source, you have ~120 R/Hr.  For 3000 Ci, you have ~4,000 R/Hr.  This is at one meter.  So, at a foot, those would be about 9 times that....... 90 Ci = ~ 1100 R/hr, while 3000 Ci = ~36,000 R/hr.

If you use the old 6CEN approach, for a 90 Ci source that is 6 x 90 x 1.25 x 2 = ~1350 R/hr (at a foot).   For 3000 Ci, that is ~45,000 R/HR.  Reasonable correlation.

I have a Shleien (1992) as well (it is NOT well worn nor is it tabbed).  It has gamma ray dose constants on page 167, but they are in MBq and Sieverts.  I'm a happy dinosaur with Rem and Curies, so I didn't do any calculations.........

Grin.

Dewey

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Joe Nardi
Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 3:14 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [EXTERNAL] Re: Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious thieves likely doomed

Much of what is being discussed is still speculation since it is not really known how long the unit has decayed.  If it 30 years then only about 3% of the original activity will remain.  If the original activity is 3,000 Ci then the remaining source would only be about 90 Ci and it would only be a category 2 shipment.  The US rules for category 2 would not require real time tracking of the vehicle but only package tracking so you would know that it had not arrive at the next point at the expected time.  I would say that for this incident there was early knowledge that something had happened and that is the best one could expect within the US regulations for a category 2 source.

It is not  clear to me that the persons involved are "doomed" but I would rather tell the news media that and see if the individuals involved are scared and seek help.  At 90 Ci the source would only be reading about 21 R/min at 1 foot so it is not likely that they would have received a fatal dose.  But as I said this is all speculation.  I am going to be interested to read the detailed accounts of this incident.

A. Joseph Nardi

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Wasiolek, Maryla
Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 3:30 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [EXTERNAL] Re: Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious thieves likely doomed

In the USA it would be unlikely for a truck with Category 1 quantity of radioactive material to have gone missing. See 10 CFR 37.79, Requirements for physical protection of category 1 and category 2 quantities of radioactive material during shipment.

M. Wasiolek

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Perle, Sandy
Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 12:47 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious thieves likely doomed

Hello John,

I would not presume that this kind of incident or others would not happen here in the USA or any other country. Things do happen and we have seen those things happen in the past. I would never state that there is no potential for a source to be unattended. For instance, there are numerous notices where department of transportation sources are stolen from government vehicles.

Regards,

Sandy
Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 5, 2013, at 11:42 AM, "Joel.Love" <Joel.Love at carle.com> wrote:
>
> Why would it not happen here?  The driver(s) were held up at gun-point.  Now, I do all I can to protect my hospital from incidents but I'm not sure I wouldn't hand over all my less than 1 Ci of I-125 to someone with a gun in my nose.
>
> Joe Love Radiation Safety Officer
> joel.love at carle.com
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of
> JOHN.RICH at sargentlundy.com
> Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 1:35 PM
> To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
> List
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious
> thieves likely doomed
>
> I tuned in to this one late, but if it hasn't already been discussed, we need to be prepared to tell the media why it won't happen here.  It would seem that a shipment like this would not be left unattended so that theft is "highly unlikely".  Not trying to start a new thread, but I haven't enough experience in source shipment to be able to explain how we prevent this kind of theft.
>
> So, a short paragraph would be much appreciated Thx in advance  - -jmr
>
> John Rich
> 312-269-3768
>
>
>
> From:   JPreisig at aol.com
> Date:   12/05/2013 01:28 PM
> Subject:        Re: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious
> thieves likely doomed
> Sent by:        radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
>
>
>
> Hmmmm,
>
>      So, what's the deal ---> these Co-60  thiefs couldn't read the warnings on the Cobalt source??? Ouch.
> They actually exposed the source --- how unfortunate.  I guess if they
> are
>
> lucky they will check into a local Hospital with gastrointestinal radiation  syndrome or worse.  I guess they walked away from the scene of the crime.
>
> The various forms of radiation sickness are described, I think, in  Eric Hall's book on Radiobiology/Biophysics.
>
>    Joe Preisig
>
>
>
>
>
>
> In a message dated 12/5/2013 2:09:34 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, jim.hardeman at gmail.com writes:
>
> Oops --  unit error. I meant ~700 R/min. Sorry about that.
>
> Jim
>
>
>> On  Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM, <roseb at gdls.com> wrote:
>>
>> Jim:
>>
>> Your math is a bit off, the specific gamma-ray constant  for Co-60 is
> 1.37
>> R/hr @ 1 m.  The exposure rate from a 3,000 Ci  Co-60 source would be
> much
>> higher than 700 rad/h at 1 ft (~0.33  m).
>>
>> Henry
>>
>> Boyd H. Rose, CM, CIH, CHMM,  EI
>> Sr. Safety and Environmental Engineering Specialist  Corporate
>> Radiation Safety Officer General Dynamics Land  Systems
>> Mail Zone 436-10-75
>> Sterling  Heights , MI 48310-3269
>> Tel: 586 825 4503
>> Fax: 586 825  4015
>> E-mail:  roseb at gdls.com
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Jim Hardeman  <jim.hardeman at gmail.com> Sent by:
>> 12/05/2013 01:47 PM
>> "The International Radiation Protection \(Health Physics\)  Mailing
> List"
>>
>>
>> To
>> "The  International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List"
>> cc
>>
>> Subject
>> Re: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious thieves
> likely
>> doomed
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Doomed? Probably so. If I did my math right, they would have been
> looking
>> at ~700 rad/h at a foot.
>>
>> The question is, will  medical personnel be able to make a proper
> diagnosis
>> of  ARS?
>>
>> Jim Hardeman -- retired :-)
>> Decatur, GA
>> jim.hardeman at gmail.com
>>
>>
>>
>>> On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at  1:24 PM, Boing, Lawrence E. <lboing at anl.gov>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> That's what I read somewhere yesterday as well ....3,000 Curies....
>>>
>>> L Boing
>>> lboing at anl.gov
>>>
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From:  radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:
>>> radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Lemieux, Bryan P
>>> Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 12:10 PM
>>> To: The  International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
> List
>>> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60 found in Mexico; curious
>> thieves
>>> likely doomed
>>>
>>>
>>> On Dec 5, 2013 11:39 AM, "Estabrooks, H  Bates (IHK)" <
>>> estabrookshb at y12.doe.gov> wrote:
>>> Has anyone revealed/published the activity of the source?
>>>
>>> Bates Estabrooks
>>> Y-12 NSC
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From:  radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:
>>> radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Harrison - CDPHE,
> Tony
>>> Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 11:31 AM
>>> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Stolen cobalt-60  found in Mexico; curious
> thieves
>>> likely doomed
>>>
>>> MEXICO CITY - The carjackers who set off international alarm  bells
> likely
>>> no idea what they were stealing  and will probably die soon from
>> exposure,
>>> Mexican  authorities said at the end of a brief national scare...
>>>
>>> The cobalt-60 was found, removed from its casing, in a rural area
> near
>> the
>>> town of Hueypoxtla about 25 miles from where the  truck was stolen.
>> Jimenez
>>> suspected that curiosity got  the better of the thieves and they
> opened
>> the
>>> box. So far  the carjackers have not been arrested, but authorities
>> expect
>>> they will not live long.
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/stolen-cobalt-60-found-in-mexico-c
> urious-thieves-likely-doomed/2013/12/05/262ef990-5d66-11e3-8d24-31c016
> b976b2_st
>
> ory.html?hpid=z1
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Tony Harrison, MSPH
>>>
>>>
>>> Laboratory Services Division
>>>
>>> Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
>>>
>>> 8100 Lowry Blvd.
>>>
>>> Denver, CO  80230
>>>
>>> 303-692-3046 |
>> tony.harrison at state.co.us____________________________________________
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