A hazardous-materials team was sent to a Bellflower, CA, storage facility after a barrel containing a radioactive element was exposed to sunlight and gave off a “higher than normal radiological reading.”
The incident occurred in the 9600 block of East Alondra Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Fire Department reported.
The investigation involved some liquid being stored in barrels in a building in a lot at the location, and the Environmental Protection Agency was notified and responded, according to the fire department.
The material ended up identified was the radioactive isotope Thorium-232.
An adjacent trailer park was briefly evacuated, a dispatcher said, adding it was determined there was no threat to the public.
Thorium-232 has a half-life of about 14,050,000,000 years. It decays into radium-228 through alpha decay or decays through spontaneous fission.
Thorium is used as an alloying agent to improve magnesium’s strength at high temperatures. Thorium is also used to coat tungsten filaments used in electronic devices, such as television sets.