Chinese authorities are searching for a can containing a radioactive isotope that went missing during transportation in the northeastern province of Jilin this week.
The can, about 20cm in height, was found to be missing on Monday, when a team of workers from a Daqing Oilfield drilling company were working in Songyuan, Jilin, Xinhua reported on Saturday, quoting company sources from Daqing Oilfield.
The can contained radioactive indium-113m, Daqing Oilfield said.
The case was reported immediately to city authorities in Songyuan.
Local police and the environmental protection agency launched a joint search for the missing can, the report said.
Environmental protection specialists said the contents posed little threat to the environment, but excessive exposure could be risky to human health.
Police in Songyuan have offered a cash reward of 30,000 yuan (HK$34,885) for clues leading to its retrieval.
“Anyone who finds the can should contact the environmental protection authorities, and should not handle it,” a police notice said.
Commenters online questioned whether human negligence was involved.
“Is our monitoring of radioactive substances strong enough to prevent such a thing from happening again?” one online user asked.
“I think the management of radioactive substances is chaotic. I don’t think this is the first time for such an incident,” another user commented.
In 2014, China ordered strengthened monitoring of high-risk radiation sources after a device containing the radioactive material iridium-192 was lost in Nanjing.
Iridium-192 is so deadly that even if a small amount comes into contact with the skin, amputations are required.
Nanjing authorities waited for 1 ½ half days before informing residents about the lost radioactive material.
Authorities at the time blamed workers at the Tianjin Hongdi Engineering Inspection Development Co for the loss.
Article source: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2022282/can-containing-radioactive-isotope-reported-missing-northeastern