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Radioactive device lost in NW China city
Updated: 2009-03-26 20:40

XI'AN - A cement plant in northwest China's Shaanxi Province has lost the radioactive component of a nuclear scale used for measuring production materials, the local government announced Thursday.

A lead ball that contains Caesium-137 is component in a highly-specialized nuclear scale used to make precise measurements. It was lost Monday as workers disassembled the 53-year-old production facilities at Shaanxi Qinling Cement Co. in Tongchuan city after it failed to meet environmental protection standards.

The device might be sold among steel scraps to waste collectors and then resold to steel mills, according to the Tongchuan municipal government.

The local government has set up an investigation team and ordered a  search for the device. The search will include two steel plants in neighboring Weinan city.

Caesium-137 emits gamma rays to measure the weight of production materials on conveyer belts. It is among the extremely dangerous radionuclides emitted from nuclear fission and can endanger the nervous system, and cause infertility and even death.