New Straits Times

Health checks advised for residents near Malaysian town after stolen radioactive material recovered

Stolen cannisters had radioactive capacity 15 times more than what humans can take in a year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 4:37pm

Residents at the Seri Era Apartment, Jalan Naga Sari, Shah Alam near the town of Klang, have been advised to go for health checks following the discovery of two radioactive canisters at the premises last Saturday.

South Klang district police chief ACP Alzafny Ahmad said the move is necessary, as the canisters, which were the components from a radioactive scanning device, were found with their seals open.

He said the gamma rays from the canisters, if exposed to the public, could cause various health problems.

According to the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), the canisters have the gamma ray capacity of up to 300 milisieverts per hour, which is dangerous to the human body.

Humans are capable of receiving only 20 milisieverts of gamma rays a year, he said.

As such, Alzafny advised residents of the apartment, especially those who had been near the Rukun Tetangga Room last week to contact the AELB for advice.

Also present was AELB director (Ray Regulatory Division) Hasmadi Hassan.

Among the symptoms suffered by those who are exposed to gamma rays are dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Last Thursday, two radioactive scanners belonging to an oil and gas company were stolen from a car.

A special team was set up to investigate the matter, which led to the arrest of eight people in Klang and Shah Alam.

According to Alzafny, the team made a breakthrough last Friday when it found several pieces of the scanners at a scrap metal shop in Kampung Jawa here and arrested three suspects.

The arrest of the suspects led police to the apartment where they found the two canisters last Saturday. A suspect was also arrested there.

Alzafny said four employees of the oil and gas company were also arrested last Friday to assist investigations.

Stolen radioactive material: Health checks advised for Klang apartment residents