Posted by: keithrey | June 27, 2009

NRC Event Notification Report #45155 – Lost Source

BLOGGER’S NOTE: This incident highlights just how critical the need for security is.  The loss of a 54 Curie source, even for an hour, is a serious incident.Classified as a “non-emergency,” if the source had not been located we would have had an entirely different situation on our hand.

Fifty-four Ci of IR-192 is enough source material for a dirty bomb, and prolonged exposure would likely harm a person. Ir-192 has a relatively short half-life compared to Cs-137, but in the wrong hands this amount (a “Category 2” source according to the IAEA) could be used as powerful tool, or weapon by terrorists and criminals.

Luckily, the lost source was found by a concerned citizen and turned over to the police.    Increased security in the private and public sectors is called for due to the regularity of these kinds of incidents and the relative low security standards by the licensees that use these materials.

IP Radiation Detection tools can be integrated with an organization’s enterprise security infrastructure to enhance CONOPS and training. For example, notification can be sent out immediately if a source is no longer where it is supposed to be.

Putting radiation instrumentation on the same network as other security tools, such as video, access control, GPS and messaging is a critical investment that need to be made. 

Despite these lean economic times, it will be unfortunate if we have to wait for an incident to make these investments.  Perhaps there is stimulus money that could be used?

General Information or Other Event Number: 45155
Rep Org: MATTINGLY TECH SERVICES
Licensee: MATTINGLY TECH SEVICES
Region: 4
City: MOLT State: MT
County:
License #: 252147901
Agreement: N
Docket:
NRC Notified By: RAY SIERRA
HQ OPS Officer: DAN LIVERMORE
Notification Date: 06/24/2009
Notification Time: 10:37 [ET]
Event Date: 06/22/2009
Event Time: [MDT]
Last Update Date: 06/24/2009
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
20.2201(a)(1)(i) – LOST/STOLEN LNM>1000X
Person (Organization):
DALE POWERS (R4DO)
JACK FOSTER (FSME)
ANGELA MCINTOSH (FSME)
This material event contains a “Category 2” level of radioactive material.

Event Text

RADIOGRAPHY CAMERA TEMPORARILY LOST

On June 22, 2009, the licensee placed an INC IR-100 radiography camera on the tailgate of his work truck. The radiography camera contained a 54 curie Ir-192 source. The camera was not secured on the truck and the tailgate remained in the open position. When he arrived at the job site 25 minutes later he realized the camera had fallen off the truck. In order to look for the camera, the licensee proceeded back along the same route he had taken to the work site. The licensee noticed a police vehicle travelling on the same remote rural road. He stopped the police vehicle for assistance and discovered that the police officer had coincidentally just recovered the camera from a passerby. A passerby had found the camera on the road and contacted the police. The camera was not damaged. There was no personal exposure as a result of this event. The camera was out of the licensee’s possession for approximately one hour.

THIS MATERIAL EVENT CONTAINS A “CATEGORY 2” LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL

Category 2 sources, if not safely managed or securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled them, or were otherwise in contact with them, for a short time (minutes to hours). It could possibly be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of hours to days. These sources are typically used in practices such as industrial gamma radiography, high dose rate brachytherapy and medium dose rate brachytherapy.

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These “Event Notification Reports” are posted to the NRC Web site for public review.  The purpose of posting them on this blog is to show the prevalence of radiological materials in significant quantities used in our modern society and highlight how employing new IP technologies for increased security and enhanced communications to support pre- and post-event CONOPS could be beneficial for the professionals involved.

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