By Dave Sherwood and Natalia A. Ramos Miranda
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – What appeared to be a typical case of car theft in Chile’s capital on Friday became more dire when authorities said the vehicle was carrying a dangerous radioactive substance.
Chilean nuclear agency CCHEN said the stolen vehicle, a truck, was carrying a piece of industrial radiographic equipment called a SENTINEL 880, “which contains a radioactive substance Iridium-192.”
Iridium-192 is a radioactive isotope of chemical element iridium, according to the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information. High doses of Iridium-192 are used to treat tumours. The substance is also used in clinical X-ray systems.
“Don’t touch, manipulate or attempt to utilise the device, as it can cause serious health effects,” CCHEN said in a statement.
The agency posted a photo of the equipment on its Twitter account and recommended anybody who spotted it or the stolen vehicle immediately call their local police or fire department.
(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Richard Chang)