A device loaded with Iridium-292 has gone missing in Iran, according to a report in the Saudi owned newspaper Asharq Al-Aawsaat.
A car transporting the radioactive material from Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant was stolen. The car was later found, but the radioactive material was gone.
On November 18, the International Atomic Energy Agency warned the Gulf Cooperation Council of the missing radioactive isotope, after being informed of the loss by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). It is not clear when the device was actually stolen.
There is fear that the material can be converted into a dirty bomb by attaching the material to a conventional bomb.
Local Iranian hospitals have been told to look out for cases of radiation sickness or burns.
Iridium-292 in an unstable isotope that releases gamma rays. It’s used to find structural flaws in metals.
Close proximity to the exposed isotope will cause injury within minutes to hours, and death within hours to days.
In November of 2015, Iridium being used for industrial testing was stolen from a US company near Basra, Iraq, but it was later found in Zubair, Iraq, in February 2016.