Holy frack that was close!
Public relations people and top-level executives at Halliburton, one of the world's largest oilfield services companies, are likely breathing a sigh of relief after the oilfield services company found a radioactive rod that it lost last month, the Guardian reports. The seven-inch rod of americium-241/beryllium was found alongside a Texas highway some miles away from where it was being used to locate oil and gas deposits eligible for fracking.
Previously, members of the FBI, the Texas National Guard and Halliburton had been searching for the radioactive tool that is classified as a "category 3" source of radiation and could prove fatal if held for an extended period of time. It is the first incident of a lost radioactive tool of its kind in the past five years, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Bloomberg reports.
But radioactive materials sometimes do turn up in unexpected places. In 2010, Italy experienced the worst radiological incident in its history when a shipping container arrived in the port city of Genoa with unsafe levels of radiation, WIRED reports. The source turned out to be a radioactive rod not much larger than a pencil.
Still, concerns over safety violations are nothing new for Halliburton. The conglomerate once led by former Vice President Dick Cheney faced criticism for its role in BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill after reports emerged that it provided faulty cementing in constructing the well. More recently, critics have raised concerns over the effects its fracking fluid has on nearby drinking water, even prompting one executive to publicly drink Halliburton fluid to prove that its ingredients are benign .