By Andy Sambidge
Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation warns that it could injure if handled wrongly
A radioactive piece of industrial equipment has been lost in Abu Dhabi and could cause injuries, the UAE's nuclear regulator has said.
The warning was issued after a company based in Abu Dhabi's Mussafah industrial area notified the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) of the loss, a statement published by state news agency WAM said.
"The Iridium source (Ir-192) ... has been unaccounted for since the late hours of Tuesday 25 October," the company said, giving no further details about how it was lost.
FANR said police are searching for the lost radioactive equipment.
The equipment is covered with a lead casing, but if that were to be removed, it could cause radioactive damage to cells or burns.
"The authority asks anyone who has seen any equipment ... to keep away from them, to not handle the source directly and to immediately call the nearest police station," the statement said.
Yeah, I can understand how someone can misplace or lose thousands of dollars worth of radioactive equipment that can actually cause the agony and death of many people, just yesterday, I lost the key to my bicycle, I was sooo angry.
"anyone who has seen any equipment"? How much more vague could they get? If I lost something and wished to both find it and alert the community of its dangers, I think I would say what it looked like...
How irresponsible of the Firm ?
Inexcusable! How do you lose radioactive material unless you have a shoddy security system? It looks like heads are gonna roll over this but if not then there should be! This is the very reason why people are afraid of giving technologies like this without proper security checks and redundancies in place.
Nope, people are afraid because we are notoriously bad at understanding risks. People are OK with over 70,000 yearly deaths in the MENA region but will panic because a box with some grams of low intensity radioactive material that is totally harmless unless someone is so dumb to ignore all the warnings and protections and extracts it. Even in this case it could cause at most a few deaths over the next few years.
Yes, this should not have happened. But things like this will keep happing as long as people keep working with these materials, and we will keep doing that because the benefits greatly outweighs the risks.
A great book on this "Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear" aka "Risk: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't - and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger"
The company is called Lonestar Technical Services and they deal with NDT testing of pipelines and plants. As long as it doesnt end up in wrong hands, no issues but it is definitely a lack of safeguarding.