No terrorism links to missing radioactive device, say Malaysian police

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police have established that there are no links between a missing 23kg radioactive dispersal device (RDD) and terrorism.

"As of now, there are no indicators to tie the missing equipment with terrorism," said Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor in a statement released on Tuesday (Aug 21).

The statement, besides recapping how the device had gone missing on Aug 10, also listed health issues associated with unprotected exposure to the material.

"According to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), the device, which contains 50 curies (unit of radioactivity) of Iridium-192, can cause health issues depending on the type of exposure.

"Anyone exposed to any activities with readings of around 50 curies and at around 120 minutes within a distance of one meter (without protection) will receive exposure levels as high as 500 millisievert (mSv).

"Exposures around 500mSv will bring about nausea and headaches and (exposure) above it can lead to burnt skin," he said.

Comm Mazlan said police were currently working with the AELB to trace the missing equipment, and as well as locating any possible suspects.

 

On Aug 10, the device went missing as it was being transported from Seremban.

The company that owned the RDD, consisting of a large metal tube with a handle on top, reportedly used it to detect cracks in metal as part of inspection protocols in the energy, power and transportation sectors.

Police initially detained two technicians who were transporting the device.

The duo, after completing their task, reportedly loaded the device onto the back of their pick-up truck and left for their office in Shah Alam at 2am.

The device was missing when they arrived an hour later. The duo claimed they did not stop on their journey back, and feared that it could have fallen off their truck.