As you all aware on the 19.05.2023, a case of theft of a radioactive source was reported from the stores of China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation (CCECC) at Kagezi village, Kiringente sub-county in Mpigi district, which uses the sources for road construction.
The radioactive sources can also be used in industrial radiography, medical radiotherapy, and agricultural research, among others. The suspects are to be charged with theft of radioactive materials.
A team of experts swiftly responded and identified 3 suspects, all lab technicians of CCECC. It was established that they had conspired and moved the sources out of the restricted stores, concealed it in packaging bags, and hid it in an authorised rented room.
The radioactive source was recovered with its charger still intact, properly shielded and safely transported back to the stores. Further, steps have been taken to tighten security , of the store of the radioactive materials to prevent a repeat of theft and abuse.
We would like to thank the CT experts and the Atomic Energy Council, for disrupting the theft of the sources and attempts of selling the radioactive materials to a buyer who had offered Ugx 50m (Fifty million shillings) only.
We are now tracing onwards to establish the buyer. Malicious actors and wrong elements use the radioactive materials to make radiological dispersal devices commonly known as “dirty” bombs.
Other potential hazards, and risks of the materials is radiation sickness with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, fatigue and fever. Severe cases can lead to organ failure and even death.
Long or chronic exposure to radiation increases the risk of developing cancer, particularly leukaemia, thyroid cancer and various solid tumors. Other long-term effects include genetic damage, birth defects and compromised immune system function.
In addition, radioactive materials can also lead to negative environmental and social impacts.
The public is warned against dealing and tampering with radioactive sources. They are instead advised to immediately report any presence or contact with radioactive sources/materials to the Counter-terrorism Police Directorate or the National Operations Command Centre at Police Headquarters on telephone contacts 0800199699, 0707600773 or 0776999136