RealNews

Nigeria Warns of Missing Nuclear Material

Nigeria issued a warning Friday over missing radioactive material, saying an oil company in the oil-rich Niger Delta had reported the loss. The short announcement, on Nigerian TV, gave few details — leaving unanswered how much material was missing, and where, among other questions. Citing the West African nation’s nuclear regulatory agency, Nigerian TV said an unspecified oil company had reported metal contaminated with radioactive material was missing from its operations. It warned caution on the part of anyone who may have come in contact with the metal, saying nausea or vomiting might be signs of radioactive poisoning. It was not clear what function the missing material would have played in oil production. Radioactive material used in the oil industry includes cesium-137, which is used in devices to help characterize rock layers. Severe burns, and even death, can result from handling an industrial source of cesium-137, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet cautions. Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil exporter, and nearly all of the oil comes from the Niger Delta. Multinational oil companies’ facilities in the delta are the object of frequent attacks, by saboteurs and by thieves. Full Story

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