They stole again in Chile a very dangerous nuclear density meter when handling
The tool is used for soil measurements and is used in the construction industry
Cristián Torresfrom Santiago, Chile
During Tuesday afternoon the denounced the theft of a nuclear hydrometer in the Chilean capital, after which the authorities asked those who may have contact with the device not to handle it.
The emergency was communicated by the Chilean Regional Ministerial Secretariat of Health ( SEREMI), through a statement in which the theft of a nuclear hydrometer was reported belonging to a company called Suelotest, located in Quilicura in the northern sector of Santiago.
The theft of the instrument it occurred due to the assault of the vehicle in which it was transported. It is a Troxler brand nuclear densimeter, used for studies in this specialty. Among its characteristics, it is described as a model 3430, number 68368, whose year of manufacture is 2014. It was stored in a high-density plastic case, which indicates the danger of radioactivity. The authority warned that handling the nuclear device can be very dangerous if its operation is unknown.
“We warn that the hydrometer must not be used or manipulated, disassembled, melted, struck, cut or perforated, since the radioactive material it contains may be exposed, which is harmful to human life and the environment”, they pointed out from the SEREMI.
The nuclear densimeter is a device that can be used in soil studies, to determine humidity and density,in addition to other technical measurements. These instruments have two encapsulated radioactive sources that, if misused, could pose a serious risk to people.
Therefore, their use or transport is sanctioned according to health regulations. “The use, transport or hidden maintenance of this type of equipment without the express authorization of the RM Health Seremi is sanctioned, in accordance with current legislation”, it is explained.
This is not the first time that this type of theft has occurred in Chile.Last May, a hydrometer was reported stolen in the commune of La Cisterna, in the Chilean capital. The device was also stolen from a vehicle.
In July 2022, the theft of an instrument was also reported, although it was a hydrometer if it was related to nuclear studies. It happened in Rancagua, a city located 86 kilometers south of Santiago. On that occasion the instrument was removed from a truckand the authorities announced “an investigation together with other entities to find those responsible.” At the time, the police and the authorities were mobilized to draw the attention of the community to the level of risk it entailed. “In addition, our role is to inform the community about the risks of the equipment in question, since mishandling could cause damage to people's health, even leading to fatal outcomes,” it was reported.
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Regarding the reasons for which this type of theft is carried out, the health authority warned that criminals do so believing that they will be able to sell the component parts of these artifacts, which is very difficult to do in reality.
In the statement, they explain that These types of tools have no commercial value, except for industrial and specific use. “It cannot be bought or sold without authorization from the respective Health SEREMI. Finally, we request that if anyone has information about this hydrometer, notify the Police, the PDI or the RM Health SEREMI”, the statement closes.
Finally, They call on anyone with information on the nuclear densimeter to contact the Carabineros, the Investigative Police (PDI) or the RM Health Seremi.