Three radioactive level gauges stolen and later found open

Print View Posted on: 17 September 2012

Event Date: 09 September 2012 Event Type: Radiation Source
Event Location: Bulgaria, Devnya town INES Rating: 2 (Provisional)

On 09.09.2012, the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (BNRA) received a notification for the theft of 3 level gauges from the Polimery JSC. Site, Devnya town. Stolen level gaugescontained Cs-137 sources with activity of 51.5 GBq each (calculated activity for the day of the robbery). The same day, the police found the source containers at a scrap yard, located closely. Containers were broken and the sources were missing.
Later, as a result of police investigation, the thieves were arrested and the missing sources were found, secured and put into a safe storage. However, source capsules were intact (not ruptured). Investigation showed that the sources had been dismantled and kept at the gypsy ghetto for a few days (two buried in the field in the backyard and one close to an open field WC).
Thirty five individuals living in the ghetto and that could have been exposed were sent for medical examination. Eleven individuals had blood samples taken and six individuals were admitted to hospital. Assessment of event consequences is continuing. However, up to now no adverse heath effects or abnormalities were observed.
BNRA in cooperation with the police and the national security service continues the investigation of event causes and circumstances. Preventive and corrective actions are being implemented to eliminate recurrence.

INES Rating: 2 - Incident (Provisional) as per 17 September 2012
Release beyond authorized limits? No
Overexposure of a member of the public? No
Overexposure of a worker? No

Contamination spread within the facility? No
Damage to radiological barriers (incl. fuel damage) within the facility? No

Degradation of Defence In-Depth Yes

Person injured physically or casualty? No
Is there a continuing problem? Yes

Nikolay Vlahov
Nuclear Regulatory Agency (BNRA)
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