Another radioactive unit stolen in Venezuela

Updated: 2006-01-05 10:02

A radioactive unit used in the oil industry was stolen last month in Venezuela, the second such theft within a month, the civil defense department in the eastern state of Azoategui said on Wednesday.

The capsule containing cesium-137 was part of a device used to measure the pressure in oil wells and was stolen on December 27 from BJ Services of Venezuela, a private firm that was doing soil studies in the region, said Wolfgang Castillo, head of the state's civil defense department.

Castillo asked the public to be alert to the possible danger of exposure to the radioactive material.

In 1987, four people died and some 250 suffered from radiation contamination in Brazil after being exposed to cesium-137 in an abandoned container.

On December 18, part of a medical X-ray equipment was stolen in Yaracuy, central Venezuela, but was recovered on December 29.