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Radioactive material missing en route to Michigan, NRC says - Iridium-192

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  • Radioactive material missing en route to Michigan, NRC says - Iridium-192

    June 29 2021

    Mark Hicks

    Radioactive material headed to Michigan from an Ohio company never made it to its destination, according to a filing by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported this week.

    In its "Current Event Notification" report for Wednesday, the commission that regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other civilian uses of nuclear materials in the United States said the Ohio Bureau of Radiation Protection had informed officials about a missing shipment involving Prime NDT Services Inc.

    ... The Ohio radiation bureau learned from Prime NDT that a source of Iridium-192 was shipped through an unidentified carrier on July 12 from a facility in Strasburg, Ohio, to a facility in Michigan, the NRC said.

    "As of July 21, the source has not been delivered ..." the Ohio commission's notice to the NRC reads.

    ... Iridium-192 is a radioactive isotope of iridium, which can be used in industrial gauges that inspect welding seams in equipment such as pipelines and in medicine to treat certain cancers, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The nuclear commission report categorized the isotope as a "Category 2" level of radioactive material, but did not specify the quantity of material that was being shipped or how it was packaged.

    "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)," the report said. "It could possibly be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of hours to days."

    ... According to the NRC, Category 1 nuclear materials are for strategic uses and include quantities in excess of 5 kilograms of uranium 235 or uranium-233 or 2 kilograms of plutonium. Five kilograms equals slightly more than 11 pounds.

    Category 2 materials contain more than 1,000 grams of U-235 or more than 500 grams of U-233 or plutonium, or in a combined quantity of more than 1,000 grams. One thousand grams is equal to 2.2 pounds.
    The NRC reported the carrier of the radioactive material "believes the material was delayed at their facility' and that on July 20, the 'package could not be located."

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