KLANG: The area around an apartment in Shah Alam near here may have been exposed to radiation after thieves dumped parts of two radioactive inspection tools there.
Residents who had passed by the area could also have been exposed, according to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board’s (AELB) radioactive regulatory division director Hasmadi Hassan.
The radioactive parts of two Delta 880 industrial radiography projectors were dumped in a rubbish bin at the Rukun Tetangga room in Era Apartments in Desa Latania, Shah Alam.
“They had disposed of the inner casings made of depleted uranium as well as the inner rods containing iridium-192 which emanates gamma ray,” said Hasmadi.
He added that the board was now finding out when the thieves had cut open the casings of the equipment, to determine the duration of the exposure.
Those who passed the area between the wee hours of Feb 9 right up to 6pm on Feb 11 and are worried about likely exposure to radiation should call 03-8922 5888 or 1800-88-7999.
South Klang OCPD Asst Comm Alzafny Ahmad said yesterday AELB had informed the police that two radiography projectors were stolen early on Feb 9.
“They were taken between 3am and 4am from a car parked outside a company in Kampung Sungai Kandis, which carries out the service and maintenance of pipes for oil and gas companies,” he said.
(The radiography projectors are used to detect leaks in soldered pipe joints.)
ACP Alzafny said AELB informed police that the stolen items were hazardous and could cause death if handled wrongly.
“We set up a special team and managed to trace the outer casing to a junkyard in Batu 3, Kampung Jawa here, 37 hours later.
“We found the inner casings which contained iridium-192 at 6pm on Feb 11,” said ACP Alzafny.
Following the discovery, eight people aged between 26 and 37 have been arrested over the theft as well as the buying of stolen items.
Among them were the company’s employees, the junkyard owner as well as workers. The case is being investigated under Section 379 of the Penal Code for theft.
ACP Alzafny said investigations revealed that the alleged theft was solely motivated by profit.
“Our initial investigations also indicated that those arrested did not know they had taken items which were radioactive,” he said.
He also did not know how many in his 16-member team had been exposed to radiation.
“Blood tests will be taken from all the policemen involved as well as the suspects to determine that,” he added.