The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has issued an appeal for people to be on the lookout for a soil test kit containing radioactive material that was stolen from a van in the Madrid area.
In a statement on Tuesday, the CSN said it was made aware of the theft of the bright yellow Troxler density and humidity gauge, which was taken after the back door of the van was forced open in the town of Humanes, in 25 km south of the capital.
The council said the equipment contained cesium-137 and americium-241/beryllium, adding that the two radioactive sources are classified as category four on the scale of one to five established by the International Agency for atomic energy, of which five is the least dangerous category. .
“Category four is classified as ‘unlikely to be hazardous to people’ because, given its low radioactivity, it does not pose a radiological hazard as long as it is kept closed and intact,” the statement said.
“The radioactive sources are located in the [kit’s] interior, where they are protected and encapsulated. However, they could pose a risk if the kit is opened or damaged, resulting in the loss of source protection.
The CSN has released photos and a description of the Troxler gauge.
The box-shaped yellow kit features a metal handle, a glass screen with a keypad, and a metal tube where the radioactive materials are housed. The equipment is kept in a yellow carrying case which bears a radiation symbol and a warning.
“Anyone who finds the equipment should avoid handling it and should immediately notify authorities, police or emergency services,” the statement said.