Michigan-bound radioactive material reported missing has been recovered
Radioactive material reported missing in Ohio that had been en route to a facility in Michigan has been safely recovered, Ohio authorities said Friday.
The Ohio Bureau of Radiation Protection said the carrier found the material July 23, and it relayed the information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission immediately. The source material was properly packaged and protected, and was in the possession of the carrier at all times, according to a statement from Alicia Shoults, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health.
The Ohio Department of Health had been notified by Prime NDT Services of Ohio that a source of Iridium-192 was shipped through an unidentified carrier on July 12 from its facility in Strasburg, Ohio, intended for a facility in Michigan, the NRC said. It had not yet arrived at its destination on July 20 and was believed to be in Tennessee.
The Ohio Department of Health contacted the counterpart agency in Tennessee to assist with the search for the missing materials.
The health department statement said proper procedures for shipping the material had been followed, including working with an experienced carrier, using secure protective packaging and ensuring that shipment tracking was available, and that proper markings and classifications were all in place as needed.
Prime NDT Services is an Ohio-based inspection company that performs testing services in the energy and industrial industries, according to its Facebook page, many involving pipelines and other energy industry equipment.
Ir-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.
Materials being misplaced during shipping isn't a rare occurrence, experts say.
"It's not often, but it does happen because there are so many shipments of radioactive materials, millions every year, that I suppose it's inevitable that occasionally one goes missing or is misplaced," said Steve Fetter, an associate provost and dean at the University of Maryland Graduate School and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control.