Searchers find radiation pellet after accident in Barton County


(Photo Courtesy Barton County Sheriff’s Office)

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — A truck drove over a device containing a radioactive pellet in Barton County Tuesday morning, setting off a chain reaction as more vehicles drove over it and the pellet disappeared, leading to a search for the potentially dangerous item.

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office says a subcontractor for the Kansas Department of Transportation was using the device around 8:45 a.m. to check newly laid asphalt just north of the junction on K-156 Highway.

While the device was sitting on the highway, a semi ran over it. Then, several cars ran over it. The radioactive pellet was gone, possibly carried off on one of the vehicles that hit it.

(Photo Courtesy Barton County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff’s office brought out its Geiger counter and discovered there was very low-level radiation in the parts remaining at the scene.

Members of the sheriff’s office, the Great Bend Fire Department and Hazmat Response, Inc. began searching for the piece of the device that contained the radioactive pellet.

After about an hour, they found it about a half-mile from the scene. The Geiger counter showed that the radioactive source inside the device appeared to be intact. The subcontractor took that part and the rest of the device for disposal.

The sheriff’s office says it appears there was no threat to the public.

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