Fears of exposure, militant activity after radioactive material goes missing

Frantic search for missing radioactive device in Malaysia amid fears it may fall in wrong hands

Authorities from the police and Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) fear the device, which has been missing since August 10, contains an unknown amount of radioactive isotope Iridium- 192, could cause radiation exposure or be used as a weapon by militants, the local New Straits Times daily said, citing unnamed sources.

It went missing as it was transported to the company's office from the town of Seremban.

According to published reports, Iridium-192 is one of the most- stolen commercial radioactive isotopes that can be used in a dirty bomb - a non-nuclear device using conventional explosives to spread radioactive material over a wide area.

'Yes, there is a report and we are investigating, ' Mr Mansor said. The technicians had earlier completed a task with the device in Seremban, roughly an hour's drive away.

Authorities have confirmed the device is missing but have insisted that "everything is under control". They noted that if the device falls into the hands of a layman, they may tear it apart and sell it as scrap metal.

With that said, the device still hasn't been found and AELB is concerned that the missing radioactive device could propose a hazard to our security and safety.

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(File) The radioactive device belonged to a company that provides inspection, calibration, and test services to the oil and gas industry and power plants, among others. "Do not open it", the source was quoted as saying. The technicians told the investigators that the tailgate of their vehicle was lowered by the time they reached the office and they have tried to find the device by retracing their journey but the duo had no luck retrieving it.

"It cannot fall into the wrong hands as the consequences can be deadly", the source said. The locking mechanism, they said, was in good condition and could not be unlocked without intervention.

While the men, both in their 30s, were temporarily detained by police while an investigation was launched, they were released on Friday after forensic tests and investigations into possible terrorist links failed to come back conclusively.

"As an example, a weld in a boiler may contain cracks that are hidden and can not be seen by human eyes".

"Radiography is proven to be a method that has the capability to detect such a crack".

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