Authorities are searching for a radioactive well logging source holder in 18 counties across Illinois and Indiana.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency was notified about the missing device on Friday. The missing source holder is owned by Wayne County Well Surveys, Inc., of Fairfield, Illinois.
Officials say radiological response teams are searching the company’s job sites and transportation routes in an effort to locate the container.
The search is focused in Clay, Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Franklin, Hamilton, Jasper, Jefferson, Macon, Marion, Moultrie, Richland, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne and White counties in Illinois and Gibson and Pike counties in Indiana.
Officials say the container shields the radioactive material housed inside. So anyone who finds it will not be exposed to dangerous radiation.
However, anyone who finds the container should not approach it and contact police.
Officials say the container was last known to be in a company vehicle.
We’re told this source holder is part of a larger tool used to assess geological formations in oil and gas, groundwater, mineral and geothermal exploration.
The steel container is silver in color, 12 inches high and 14 inches in diameter. It weighs about 75 lbs. The container is labeled on two sides as ‘DOT RADIOACTIVE YELLOW II’ with the radiation trefoil symbol, and the manufacturer’s name, ‘Hopewell Designs, Inc.,’ is on its base.
The inner source holder is about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and is labeled as ‘DANGER RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL, DO NOT HANDLE, NOTIFY CIVIL AUTHORITIES.’
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has categorized sources in five categories, with categories 1 and 2 being the most dangerous and requiring increased controls.
The missing source, which is housed within two robust containers, is an IAEA category 3 source.
If un-shielded and not safely managed or securely protected, exposure to the source could cause permanent injury to a person who handled it or who was otherwise in contact with it.