Bloomberg: Halliburton loses radioactive rod, reward offered — Lock on device’s container was missing

Published: September 14th, 2012 at 5:14 pm ET


Title: FBI Clears Halliburton Crew in Loss of Radioactive Tool
Source: Bloomberg
Author: Kathy Warbelow and Brian Wingfield
Date: Sep 14, 2012 12:08 PM ET


A National Guard unit based in Austin sent a three-person team with detection gear yesterday to assist local officials, said Amy Cook, a spokeswoman for the Guard. The Texas Department of State Health Services said yesterday it requested help to find the radioactive item, which can pose a health risk if touched or held for several days.


“It’s not something that produces radiation in an extremely dangerous form,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the health department, said in an interview. “But it’s best for people to stay back, 20 or 25 feet.”


Halliburton called the Reeves County sheriff’s office in Pecos after discovering the item was missing, police sergeant Jerry Millan said.

“They told us they had lost a radioactive rod,” he said in an interview.


Halliburton told the state that workers discovered on Sept. 11 that a lock on the container used to transport the device was missing, along with the unit, after driving a truck to a well south of Odessa from from a site near Pecos, according to the NRC report. The company is offering a reward and is working with local law enforcement, the highway patrol and health officials in the search, the company said.


h/t Anonymous tip

Published: September 14th, 2012 at 5:14 pm ET


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29 comments to Bloomberg: Halliburton loses radioactive rod, reward offered — Lock on device’s container was missing

  • harengus_acidophilus

    A "radioactive rod"…

    A fuel rod? Or what?

    In former times they had said: "This rod is of <isotope from element xy> which emits alpha/beta/gamma radiation… Take care!"
    Today they say: "No need to concern, just stay away 20 feet!"

    YES SIR!!!


    • harengus_acidophilus

      So it seems this "rod" is a neutron source.

      It contains Am-241/Be-9, so alpha particles from the Am interacts with Be to become Carbon-12 a a single neutron.

      You can use a neutron source to alter stable isotopes in radioactive ones. But on a small scale.

      Not nice, but the radioactive danger seems low, but…

      For me, it's a serious security problem.


  • markww markww

    Dirty Bomb ????????? Missing Rod

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    "Oh hey guys you seen that rod around? Nope not a trace…" Oh hey guy…it's a dirty bomb now…

    What the hell do we pay these people for? Do they just sit on their bums all day digging nose gold and licking windows for a living? Did they get their degree in security from Jonah Hill? Let me guess…graduated from Pat Robertson U.

  • hbjon hbjon

    Dr. Frankenstein lost his power source? Bummer. How many people can that kill if it falls in the wrong hands? They'll prolly find it at the swapmeet on sale for 10 bucks. Cordless hand warmer for sale.

  • DHCollins

    These radioactive sources are used to xray pipes, etc. I used to work in this part of the world for an oil exploration company. Pecos is literally out in the middle of nowhere. Stupid hot country.

    We lost a pellet like this down a hole back in the late 70's. Had all kinds of federal agencies show up to see what was going on. Finally fished it out. Whew!

    The idiot who stole this has probably already irradiated himself.

    • "The idiot who stole this has probably already irradiated himself." – DHCollins

      This is just one of the multitudes of reasons to reverse the stranglehold of Nuclear Power. 'Nut jobs' and idiots cannot be factored into any Risk Management calculation. Yet, we know it's bound to happen.

      If it was stolen by someone who 'knows' what they are doing, then that's a whole new ball game.

    • Sickputer

      So DH… What kind of procedures did your drilling rig use for radioactive probe wireline operations?

      Who was the lucky guy to handle the probe? Wear special gloves, respirator, etc…

      I suspect they lost it out of the truck somewhere by the roadside. It may never be found…hell the US has lost plutonium bombs before in plane crashes. Never found them and this little piece is a needle in a haystack.

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        Not to mention a couple of nuclear warheads falling off a nuclear submarine.

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        If it fell off the back of the truck, i'd hope they could go up and down the road with a geiger counter and locate it in the bushes.

      • DHCollins

        At the time, I was running the lead tongs on the drilling rig.

        I wasn't directly involved as this was a specialty operation contracted out to Halliburton. In those days, Halliburton was only involved in oilfield work. A "tool" company".

        I never paid it much attention until the source was lost down the hole. That same day, there must have been 10 different state and federal inspectors on site.

        You can handle the source for the short time it takes to attach it. I don't recall if they used any shielding or not, but they most likely did use protective gloves.

        There were other companies in the area that used radioactive pellets for above ground pipe testing, inspecting welds, etc. But losing one below ground is a big no no.

        • Sickputer

          Thanks DH.

          As of Monday September 17, 2012 the nuclear tool is still missing in Texas.

          Halliburton is requesting National Guard assistance:

          "This rod contains americium-241/beryllium which Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman from the health department has assured is “not something that produces radiation in an extremely dangerous form. But it’s best for people to stay back, 20 or 25 feet.” The rod would have to be in someone’s physical possession for several hours before it could be considered dangerous."

          SP: As a wordsmith I appreciate the nuance of their public spokesperson. In reality the rod is ALWAYS "dangerous". If you handle it for several hours you will develop the onset of radiation poisoning and require chelation trestment to save your life. There is also the statement it is not "extremely dangerous". If so then why must you stay 25 feet away from the 7-inch cylinder? 😉

          Radioactive wired tool work by frackers is going to lead to Madame Curie syndrome in their future. Her notebooks are so deadly from her radioactive hands that they have to be shielded by lead.

          "Years after Madame Curie's death, photographic films were placed between the sheets of her laboratory books. The photographs showed numerous fingerprints caused by the radioactivity on her hands."

  • razzz razzz

    Don't forget to check Ebay listing…

    • DHCollins

      Ebay has strict policies concerning the sale of radioactive products. I know because I buy radioactive ore specimens there all the time.

      • Sickputer

        Razzz is kidding, as nuclear rod thiefs or scavengers probably aren't that dim-witted.

        About the only market would be narco bosses desiring a special torture tool or perhaps homicidal spouses.

        Best guess… Still stuck in a ditch. Recent rains may have washed debris over it. I put the odds of finding it considering the length of search area at about 10%. Even with the National Guard. You can't easily fly a helicopter with a scanner that low and trucks with scanners may run over it and bury it deeper in the ditch. Needle in a haystack and a very hot one indeed. I hope they do find it.

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    So, why were they driving a radioactive rod to a well? Disposal?

  • CB CB

    Stupid mutha fackers! Oops, I lost a nuclear fuel rod! Bull shit! WTF. Does anyone have a sense of urgency anymore? Where is IT? Somebody knows, who? A great lack in security, procedural compliance, operational compliance. Sick!

  • WindorSolarPlease

    I probably wouldn't know what it was, if I saw it.

    Hot Rod Missing..Reward a night stay at the hospital, tests included.

  • markww markww

    Pecos is out in West Texas been there before, many times traveling TO California. Border Patrol in Abilene took a giy off the bus when we stopped I used to be a security Policemen in the USAF at Dyess at the base located where the guy was taken off the base this was some years ago. The guy they took off the bus was a possible terrorist spy from Africa and the Border Patrol was rounding these people up spying and doing their dirty deeds. I got a gut feeling they hijacked the rod, Did they find the driver do a check on him as to back ground and is he involved taking extra money or did they find him at all?? LOTS OF QUESTIONS. These rods just do not go missing unless something dirty happened and could be a terrorist cell hijacked the truck. Heck satellites are in space watching ask the Russians if they saw anything on the fly overs they do video and so does the USA someone saw what happened.


  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    The root of the problem is allowing this technology to exist in the first place. It should'd be allowed.

  • or-well

    Out near the West Texas town of El Whacko
    I lost a rod that was nuclear hot.
    Searching for my lunch inside the big tool chest
    I set it down on the bed of the truck.

    I ate some ribs and had a few cold ones
    then I said to myself "Back to work I'd best get."
    Somewhat unthinking from smoking and drinking
    I forgot the rod 'neath an oily rag wet.

    Now there's a hunt on to find the poor ole son
    who was working the shift and transported that crap.
    My sense of justice and honor is stronger
    than my fear of being labelled a terrorist rat.

    So I've got a horse, a good one that can run
    and I'll try and recover that dangerous rod.
    Now here on the hill overlooking El Whacko
    I know the risk but feel my conscience prod.

    Off to my right I see Border patrol boys
    Homeland Security's off to the left
    National Guard's overhead in a chopper
    but I'll clear my name or I'll ride to my death.

    I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle
    I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.
    As I'm dying I pray they don't hurt my family
    and pay to them my life insurance at least.

    Spokesperson announces "There was never danger,
    the rod is recovered and so is the thief –
    a deranged from rad-noia former Texas Ranger,
    so folks in the County can sigh in relief."

  • Ron

    Seen on telephone pole in Pecos: cardboard sign drawn with crayon.

    LOST: Radioactive rod.
    Has sentimental value.
    If found please call

    (the same people that
    brought you the war in
    Iraq and the Gulf Oil Spill)