By Associated Press - Friday, March 4, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A radioactive container that went missing last fall hasn’t been found, Illinois Emergency Management Agency officials said, and they want the company that lost it to pay $25,500 in penalties.

Authorities started searching for the container in Illinois and Indiana in October after Wayne County Well Surveys Inc. of Fairfield notified the agency that it couldn’t locate the “radioactive well logging source holder.” It contains americium, a highly radioactive metal.

On Thursday, the Agency said it issued a preliminary order seeking to impose the $25,500 penalty on the southeastern Illinois company. IEMA licenses the company’s possession and use of the device.

IEMA said it also wants the company to pay the nearly $53,000 cost of searching for the device. The search spanned 18 counties in Illinois and Indiana.

The company can request hearings on the penalty and cost recovery. The Associated Press left a phone message early Friday seeking comment from Wayne County Well Survey representatives.

IEMA has said it’s unlikely the radioactive container could be used for malicious purposes. The agency has said it isn’t hazardous, but that it shouldn’t be moved or opened.

Wayne County Well Survey said in the fall that the container was last known to be in a company vehicle. The device is silver, measures about 12 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, and weighs about 75 pounds. It is part of a larger tool used to assess geological formations in oil and gas, groundwater, mineral and geothermal exploration.

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