Frackers lose radioactive device in Texas


Well, this is too bad since the Kilgore RRC office said they lost their Geiger counter a few years ago.

From Bloomberg:
FBI Clears Halliburton Crew in Loss of Radioactive Tool
By Kathy Warbelow and Brian Wingfield – Sep 14, 2012

The Hallibruton crew lost a radioactive device used to drill wells but the FBI has cleared them of wrongdoing.

That they use radioactive devices is news to me. Radioactive sand I knew about, but not devices.

A National Guard unit based in Austin sent a three-person team with detection gear yesterday to assist local officials, said Amy Cook, a spokeswoman for the Guard. The Texas Department of State Health Services said yesterday it requested help to find the radioactive item, which can pose a health risk if touched or held for several days.

Press Release:

Texas Department of State Health Services
Sept. 13, 2012



State Officials Looking for Missing Radioactive Device 

The Texas Department of State Health Services is looking for piece of equipment containing potentially dangerous radioactive material that was lost Tuesday by an oil and gas crew in a rural part of West Texas.

The sealed radioactive source, a small stainless steel cylinder approximately 7 inches long and an inch across, contains Americium-241/Beryllium. The device is not considered highly radioactive but could expose someone who comes in close contact with it for an extended period of time to a harmful dose of radiation. The cylinder is stamped with the words “danger radioactive” and “do not handle” along with a radiation warning symbol. Anyone who sees it should stay at least 25 feet away and notify local law enforcement. 

This type of device is used to evaluate oil and gas wells and is usually stored in a protective shielding. A Halliburton crew was transporting it from a well outside of Pecos to another well south of Odessa. On arrival, the crew noticed the shielding was not locked and the device was missing.

DSHS is assisting law enforcement with the search and investigating the loss of the radioactive material. DSHS is also requesting support from the 6th Civil Support Team, a Texas National Guard unit based in Austin with specialized equipment that can be used to locate radioactive material.


Note: A photograph of the device is attached.

(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-776-7753)

DSHS Press Office on Twitter



About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Jana says

    I doubt that most people who did not know what this device was could read that it was radioactive from 25 feet away. Now, to find out more about this device.

  2. Tim Ruggiero says

    Nice job, frackers. How in the hell do you ‘lose’ something like this that is presumably a device to be handled with great care? Retrace your steps/route, gasholes and find this damned thing.

  3. Nick says

    Those have been in use for years. The article you link to is a good one. Oilfield theft is high. Many times the thieves aren’t as smart as they think they are & grab the wrong item. Maybe if they sleep with if for several days the authorities will be able to find them easier.

    • says

      They should keep closer tabs on these items. But, I have a story coming about a clusterfrack with one of these, if I can find it. Even your apologetic eyes will bug out.

    • GhostBlogger says

      Theft or not, does anyone feel good that these radioactive sources can be used in wells in residential areas?

  4. Jana says

    The GASHOLES don’t care about anything but $$$. Why would they care about a little more radiation? We get the NORM on top of our homes, schools, churches, etc. We get the radio tracers in the frac sand, we get the radioactive sludge eaters dumped into the pits that can overflow and poison and kill everything in its path on the way to our drinking water. What’s a little more radiation? Maybe we’ll need less light at night if we glow a little brighter!

  5. Jim says

    It was idiotic to lose this and should be impossible to do. Somebody broke some rules. The thing is locked in a shielded container inside a door with an alarm and a gieger counter is used to survey the area before and after it’s use. But aside from that and this stupid mistake, it doesn’t contaminate anything when it’s used. This is used to determine rock properties (porosity) and other uses of radiation include finding rock density. Other industries, like construction, also use them. I can assure you that it won’t expose anyone when they are used properly, even in residential areas.