Search for Radioactive Oilfield Tool Continues, Public Health Hazard 9/13/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
September 13, 2012
MIDLAND, TX - The search for a missing piece of oilfield equipment containing a dangerous radioactive material continues in west Texas.
State officials say a Halliburton crew was taking the cylinder from a well outside Pecos to another well south of Odessa. When they arrived to the site, they found the tool missing.
Now the Texas Department of State Health Services has joined local law enforcement on the hunt.
Public officials from Upton, Reeves and Midland County are on high alert searching for this missing radioactive rod and warning people to be ware.
"Over a period of time, it can conduct radio activity and you can get radioactive burns. You may have radioactive poison and hospitalization. Those are the things that we are trying to avoid, " said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.
Yesterday the rod went missing, while on a truck leaving from Reeves County to an oilfield site in Upton County. The truck left the site northbound on Highway 18 headed for Interstate 20. Then it traveled east to FM 1788 and south to a location in Upton County.
Officials say the crew noticed it was gone once they arrived to the oilfield site in Upton County.
Midland County Sheriff’s Office says the rod poses more than a public health threat.
"Money is not the value were looking at. We are looking at the material inside. Not only as a safety or a health issue…but also a homeland security issue," stated Painter.
Sheriff Painter says the rod could be used in an explosive device.
They say although the rod cost several thousand dollars for the oilfield company; it’s worth next to nothing for someone who has found it on the street.
"It's not worth a plug nickel for the people who found it. It is dangerous ... absolutely dangerous. If they are handling it, they are in bad shape," said Painter.
Now two state agencies, Reeves, Upton and Midland county officials are all looking for this small radioactive rod in hopes of keeping the public safe.
If you find the rod, contact a medical official immediately. Then call the Midland County Sheriff’s Office at 432-688-4600.