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A radioactive warning symbol
Calibration devices that may contain radioactive material were reportedly stolen from a contentious nuclear power plant that is under construction Jan. 18 in Dabaa, Egypt. Due to the small amounts of radioactive material that would be in each device, the threat of malicious exposure to radiation is very low, though accidental exposure is a possibility. In fact, given the public discontent over the power plant, it is likely that the thieves do not know what the devices are and only took them as part of a larger theft intended to delay the plant’s construction.
Egyptian state-run newspaper Al-Ahram on Jan. 19 reported the theft a day earlier of calibration devices that may contain radioactive material from a controversial nuclear power plant under construction in Dabaa, Egypt. The identities of the thieves are unknown, but it is possible that they are local Bedouins, who have been vandalizing and violently protesting against the plant, which is being built on land taken from them without compensation.
If the stolen devices do contain radioactive material, that material could be extremely dangerous, but it is unlikely that the thieves even know what they possess. The radioactive devices were likely just part of a larger theft intended to delay the plant’s construction. For this reason and others, the threat of malicious radiation exposure is very low. Instead, the greater risk is from accidental exposure.