IEMA Leading Search for Missing Container Storing Radioactive Well Logging Source Holder

October 21, 2015

Public is asked to contact local law enforcement if they find it 

SPRINGFIELD – A Southern Illinois well logging company on Friday notified the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) that it is unable to locate a radioactive well logging source holder, triggering an IEMA-led search for the device in 18 counties in Illinois and Indiana. The missing source holder is owned by Wayne County Well Surveys, Inc., of Fairfield, Illinois.

The company’s possession and use of the radioactive device is licensed by IEMA.

IEMA radiological response teams and the licensee’s well logging crews are searching the company’s job sites and transportation routes in an effort to locate the container. The Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Transportation assisted with the search on Friday after the device was reported missing.

The search is focused in Clay, Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Franklin, Hamilton, Jasper, Jefferson, Macon, Marion, Moultrie, Richland, Shelby, Wabash, Wayne and White counties in Illinois and Gibson and Pike counties in Indiana.

The container shields the radioactive material housed inside and as such, anyone finding it would not be exposed to dangerous radiation exposure. However, anyone who has any knowledge of the location of the container or comes across this container should not approach it but should contact their local law enforcement agency. 

The locked steel container, which houses the well logging source holder, 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.,’ is 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 unshielded 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.

Picture of the missing device: 

Radioactive Device Missing