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Mar 27,2009
Chinese radioactive part misplaced
by UPI

BEIJING -- A radioactive device reported missing from a cement plant in China's Shaanxi province may have been found, officials said.

Chinese officials said the lead ball containing Cesium-137 -- part of a nuclear scale used to measure production materials -- may have been located in a steel mill, the BBC reported Friday.

Officials told the British broadcaster they detected what may be the missing Cesium-137, adding that it may have been melted down for scrap.

The lead ball containing the toxic material apparently was lost Monday as workers demolished the Shaanxi Qinling Cement Co. in Tongchuan after the production facility failed to meet environmental production standards, China's state-run Xinhua reported.

Eight trucks' worth of scrap collected at the plant were sold to a local steel mill, Xinhua said.

Cesium-137 emits gamma rays that measure the weight of production materials. It is a radioactive isotope formed by nuclear fission and is extremely toxic in even minute amounts.

Copyright © 2009, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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