Radioactive containers missing from transport truck

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Wednesday October 11, 2000

On October 11, 2000, between 11:30 and 11:45 AM, a steel container enclosing two vials containing radioactive gas fell from a transport truck in the north end of Winnipeg. It was last seen in the vehicle at the intersection of Burrows and Plymouth. The truck traveled north to Inkster, turned east to Mandalay and then further north on Mandalay to a service station, where the loss was discovered. There is a good possibility that someone picked up the container to get it off the road.

The steel container is painted white with large GR letters printed on the sides along with large radiation safety warning signs. It is heavy, made from steel with molded rubber compartments inside. The container is seven inches high, six inches wide and about one foot long. It has a hinged lid with a screw closure device. There is no radiation field around the container.

The radioactive material is a noble gas, Xenon-133, which is used for medical diagnostic purposes and has no monetary value. Xenon gas is heavier than the air and in case the glass vials are broken, it will quickly disperse harmlessly in air. The glass vials are contained in shielded lead vials, taped shut and labelled "HSC Radiopharmacy 133 Xe Gas, Large" with a radiation warning sign below. It is safe to handle the lead vials with bare hands. The material poses a hazard only if the glass vials are removed from their shielded containers and carried for an extended period of time close to the body.

If discovered, please leave the container intact and call: Manitoba Department of Conservation-Dangerous Goods - (204) 944-4888, or HSC Radiation Safety Office, Karin Gordon: (204) 787-2903 or pager 931-5650.

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