Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Radioactive Device for Fracking Is Lost

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Radioactive Device for Fracking Is Lost

Article excerpt

AUSTIN, Texas -- Halliburton Co. is scouring a 130-mile swath of West Texas oil fields for a lost 7-inch cylinder with radioactive material used when drilling natural gas wells by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Pickup trucks outfitted with detection gear retraced the route of a vehicle that carried the radioactive rod before it was reported missing Tuesday, the Houston-based company told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The trucks drove at 10 miles an hour between Pecos, where the device was previously used on a well, and Odessa without finding the unit, according to an NRC incident report Thursday.

"It's not something that produces radiation in an extremely dangerous form," Chris Van Deusen, Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman, said in an interview. "But it's best for people to stay back, 20 or 25 feet," if they find a cylinder marked "radioactive -- do not handle," he said.

Oil-field service firms lower the radioactive units into wells to let workers identify places to break apart rock for the fracking process, which frees trapped oil and natural gas. …

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