Halliburton loses radioactive container; search is on
By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA
A container marked “RADIOACTIVE – DO NOT HANDLE” went missing somewhere in the oilfields of West Texas’ Permian Basin on September 11, and Halliburton, the company that lost the container, has started an area-wide search for the material, which is used in the controversial natural gas extraction method, hydraulic fracturing- known to us all as the safe, non-threatening, non-polluting fracking.
The loss of the potentially hazardous material certainly brings a few things to light.
- Oil companies use radiation in drilling.
Drilling companies use the material, described as a seven-inch long cylinder containing americium-241/beryllium, to help workers identify areas in a well where the rock should be broken into during the fracking process.
- This isn’t the first time such a thing has gone missing.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Maureen Conley said in an interview that the loss of this type of device hasn’t been reported to the agency, which regulates the use of radioactive materials, in at least five years. She also said the level of radiation isn’t harmful unless it was in a person’s physical possession for several hours.
- How stupid the health department thinks we are.
Christ Van Deusen, a spokesman for the health department, said in an interview that the levels of radiation the rod emits isn’t dangerous, then follows up his remark with “…it’s best for people to stay 20 to 25 feet back.”
- The xenophobia of people.
A commenter on Bloomberg.com seems to think a piece of radioactive material is the same thing as a rake. “fred,” as he’s known in his private profile wrote following, in it’s unedited form: “It is not lost, it is stolen. Mexican labor is well known for misappropriating staff from work places. I worked in California with such workers and my boss could not find half of the tools next morning. They get stolen overnight from storage boxes locked on the trucks or on the construction sites. Transient labor make the worst employees to have. Do not hire cheap labor, it will cost you 3 times more on long run.”
I guess the one thing a transient oil-field worker needs is radioactivity, which oil companies apparently give them access to instead of having people who trained to use such material. Others were quick to tie the whole thing to terrorists and drug cartels, and not the incompetence or corruption of officials.
Story filed under: Big Bend Blog