Well, yes, and perhaps in more ways than we’d like to think.
Virtually everyone in Spokane has complained or heard someone complain about the difficulty in getting a Spokane Police officer to show up to investigate a crime.
Here is the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Report indicating that the “Spokane police declined to investigate” the theft of a device containing Cesium, Americium and Beryllium from the Flour Mill parking lot on 11/17/2005. The radioactive Cesium-137 is contained on an extendable rod and the Americium-241 is encased inside the device. A padlock is normally used to secure the Cesium-137 source in its shielded position when not in use.
Let’s see. Declined to investigate the theft of radioactive materials but volunteered to “rescue” a suicidal man from a bridge.
Wonder if the Spokane Police Department called in the terrorism boys from the FBI on this one or just told the USKH, Inc. Radiation Safety Officer not to worry since we are all Hanford downwinders here in Spokane anyways. Knowing the SPD, my guess is it was the latter.
As of now I am unable to find any follow-up reporting on this incident. So if you happen to find a Troxler, Model 3411B, moisture density gauge, Serial Number 5541, please call, well, please call, uhm, please call, well I’ll be damned, please call, oh what the heck…
Please contact Spokane’s award winning local investigative and environmental reporter, Karen Dorn Steele * at the Spokesman-Review.
[* Karen Dorn Steele is an investigative and environmental reporter for The Spokesman-Review. She has won numerous awards for her reporting, including the George Polk Award and the Gerald Loeb Award for "Wasteland," a 1994 investigation into squandered taxpayer money at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation's largest nuclear waste cleanup site. Her stories on Judge McDonald's judicial misconduct won a citation for excellence in legal reporting from the 22,000-member Washington State Bar Association. (1)]
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Report
|General Information or Other
||Event Number: 42154
|Rep Org: WA DIVISION OF RADIATION PROTECTION
Licensee: USKH, INC.
City: SPOKANE State: WA
License #: WN-I0409-1
NRC Notified By: TERRY FRAZEE
HQ OPS Officer: STEVE SANDIN
|Notification Date: 11/18/2005
Notification Time: 19:53 [ET]
Event Date: 11/17/2005
Event Time: 17:45 [PST]
Last Update Date: 11/18/2005
AGREEMENT STATE REPORT INVOLVING A STOLEN TROXLER MOISTURE DENSITY GAUGE
The following information was received via email:
“Event Report # WA-05-062
“This is notification of an event in Washington State as reported to or investigated by the WA Department of Health, Office of Radiation Protection.
“Licensee: USKH, Inc.
“City and state: Spokane, Washington
“License number: WN-I0409-1
“Type of license: Portable Gauge
“Date of event: 17 November 2005, Called in 5:45 PM.
“Location of Event: Spokane, Washington
“ABSTRACT: The license’s Radiation Safety Officer reported that sometime between 2 and 5 PM a Troxler, Model 3411B, moisture density gauge, Serial Number 5541, was stolen out of the operator’s transport vehicle parked in a Diamond Parking lot adjacent to the ‘Flour Mill’ where the company’s offices are located at 621 W. Mallon Avenue, Suite 309, Spokane, Washington. A police report was filed on 17 November 2005 but Spokane police declined to investigate the scene.
“Bolt cutters were used to liberate the gauge/transport box from 2 separate chains with a padlock on each attaching the box to the rear of the operator’s pick-up truck. The parking lot (of over 75 vehicles) has an attendant who did not observe the theft.
“The operator appears to have violated at least one DOH requirement that may have contributed to the theft to the device. Department of Health Order, dated 2 December 2002, requires that when the licensee’s portable gauge is not physically under the control of the operator that the device must be covered or carried in such a way that the passer-by cannot see the device.
“Another potential contributing factor to the theft, is that the operator was planning on transporting the gauge to his residence to recharge and take it to the work site the next morning because the work site was halfway between the operator’s residence and the primary storage location. Preliminary information indicates that the work site is within 50 miles of the primary storage location. This is still under investigation. The licensee will be cited for at least one violation as a result of the event, and corrective actions will be discussed with the licensee.
“The event is currently under investigation. This report will be updated to include any new findings. No media attention noted at present.
“What is the notification or reporting criteria involved? WAC 246-221-240 Reports of stolen, lost or missing radiation sources
“Activity and Isotope(s) involved: 296 megaBq (8 millicuries) Cesium-137 and 1480 megaBq (40 millicuries) Americium 241/Beryllium.
“Overexposures? (number of workers/members of the public; dose estimate; body part receiving dose; consequence) N/A
“Lost, Stolen or Damaged? STOLEN (mfg., model, serial number) noted above
“Leak test? Unknown
“Vehicle: (description; placards; Shipper; package type; Pkg. ID number) pick-up truck with no cap
“Release of activity? N/A
“Activity and pharmaceutical compound intended: N/A
“Misadministered activity and/or compound received: N/A
“Device (HDR, etc.) Mfg., Model; computer program: N/A
“Exposure (intended/actual); consequences: N/A
“Was patient or responsible relative notified? N/A
“Was written report provided? Pending
“Was referring physician notified? N/A
“Consultant used? N/A”
Sources that are “Less than IAEA Category 3 sources,” are either sources that are very unlikely to cause permanent injury to individuals or contain a very small amount of radioactive material that would not cause any permanent injury. Some of these sources, such as moisture density gauges or thickness gauges that are Category 4, the amount of unshielded radioactive material, if not safely managed or securely protected, could possibly – although it is unlikely – temporarily injure someone who handled it or were otherwise in contact with it, or who were close to it for a period of many weeks.