Fresh appeal to find dangerous radioactive material

Date released: Oct 30 2013

The material is hazardous to health and authorities are urging caution.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII) in collaboration with An Garda Síochána issued a fresh appeal on RTÉ’s Crimecall programme last night for information on the whereabouts of seven radioactive lightning preventers stolen from premises in north county Dublin in September.

Dr Tom Ryan, Director of Regulation at the RPII, said: “The radioactive materials, which are contained in a red box, are dangerous and should not be approached or handled. We are very concerned that they are in the public domain as they pose a health hazard to anyone who comes into contact with them. They need to be recovered as soon as possible and made safe.”

The seven lightning preventers were stored in a large red metal box with radiation warning signs - yellow triangle with black trefoil symbol. The red box and its contents were stolen during the course of a burglary of Rainey Conservation Ltd on the Balheary Road, Swords over the weekend of the 27th – 30th September 2013.

“Throughout this incident we have maintained very close contact with the Gardaí in an effort to recover and make safe the radioactive material. We would urge anyone with any information concerning the stolen items to contact either the RPII or the Gardaí.” continued Dr Ryan.

Each lightning preventer contains several sources of radiation which pose a hazard to health. Close proximity to these sources will result in a person exceeding the annual radiation dose limit in a matter of hours. If handled they will cause radioactive contamination to the person’s hands and clothing with the possibility of internal radioactive contamination. They may have been mistaken as scrap metal but they have no legitimate commercial or recycling value. If the radioactive sources are cut up or dismantled they could cause local environmental contamination as well as contamination of the person.

The public is being asked to remain vigilant and to report any information that may help in the recovery of the items to the Gardaí in Swords (01) 666 4700, any Garda station or the RPII on (01) 2697766 (out of office hours: 087 916 3364).