West Texas Troubles
You know that lucky metal plug thing you found in some West Texas oil fields this week? Turns out that it's radioactive and is probably killing you right now.
Halliburton has reported misplacing a 7-inch radioactive rod somewhere in its West Texas oil fields on Sept. 11. The device was being used on a site near Pecos and disappeared from a truck (along with the lock on the container holding it) while on route to a well south of Odessa. So Halliburton has a pretty good idea were it is, give or take 130 miles.
The cylinder is stamped with warnings like "danger radioactive" and "do not handle," but let's face it, that's just going to make people want to touch it more.
According to Bloomberg, oil and gas companies use the radioactive tools in wells as part of the hydrauling fracturing (aka fracking) process, identifying weak parts of the rock formations to break apart to access trapped oil and natural gas.
The device is "a small stainless steel cylinder and attached plug about 7 inches long and an inch across, contain[ing] Americium-241/Beryllium," according to a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services, which also noted that "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 warning also states that the cylinder is stamped with warnings like "danger radioactive" and "do not handle," but let's face it, that's just going to make people want to touch it more. Luckily the Department of State Health Services has called in a Texas National Guard unit that has equipment designed to locate radioactive material.
The missing radioactive device is the biggest whoops for Halliburton since the company forgot how to make cement on the Deepwater Horizon.