A Southern Illinois well logging company has notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency that they are unable to locate a radioactive well logging source holder (seen above). The missing source holder is owned by Wayne County Well Surveys Inc. in Fairfield. An IEMA led search for the device is under way in 18 Illinois and Indiana Counties. The search is focused in Effingham, Clay, Cumberland, Edwards, Franklin, Hamilton, Jasper, Jefferson, Macon, Marion, Moulrie, Shelby, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and White counties in Illinois, and Gibson and Pike counties in Indiana.
The container went missing on Friday. It is used to shield radioactive material. Anyone who comes across the container would not be exposed to the radiation, but anyone who finds it is encouraged to contact local authorities and not approach.
The missing container is locked shut and made of steel. It was last known to be in a company vehicle. This source holder is part of a larger tool used to assess geological formations in oil and gas, groundwater, mineral and geothermal exploration.
The steel container is silver in color, 12 inches high and 14 inches in diameter. It weighs about 75 lbs. The container is labeled on two sides as ‘DOT RADIOACTIVE YELLOW II’ with the radiation trefoil symbol, and the manufacturer’s name, ‘Hopewell Designs, Inc.,’ on its base.
The inner source holder is about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide and is labeled as ‘DANGER RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL, DO NOT HANDLE, NOTIFY CIVIL AUTHORITIES.’
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has categorized sources in five categories, with categories 1 and 2 being the most dangerous and requiring increased controls. The missing source, which is housed within two robust containers, is an IAEA category 3 source. If un-shielded and not safely managed or securely protected, exposure to the source could cause permanent injury to a person who handled it or who was otherwise in contact with it.