Trucking company fined for illegally hauling cobalt 60 in Puerto Rico

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Puerto Rico trucking company has been fined $20,000 by a U.S. District Court for hauling radioactive material without the proper permits. The charges carried a possible five years of probation and fines up to $500,000.

In April, Fraticelli Trucking Co. pleaded guilty to illegally transporting cobalt 60, a Class 7 radioactive material, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release. The delivery took place in March 2014 on a highway between San Juan and Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. Fraticelli did not conduct the required pretrip inspection for the hazardous material.

Cobalt 60 is produced artificially in nuclear reactors and is used as a radiation source for a variety of purposes, including medial radiotherapy, industrial radiography, pest insect sterilization, food irradiation and sterilization for medical equipment.

Fraticelli acknowledged in a plea argument that the company was fully aware of what was required in order to transport cobalt 60. In fact, Eduardo Fraticelli Alvarado, employee and authorized agent of Fraticelli Trucking, signed U.S. Department of Transportation form MCS 150B in August 2011, September 2013 and August 2015. When signed, MCS 150B certifies knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Federal Hazardous Materials regulations.

Regardless of knowledge, Fraticelli transported cobalt 60 without the required pretrip inspection in December 2011, July 2012, February 2013 and March 2014. Fortunately, the hazardous material was delivered without incident.

“Working with our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and prosecutorial colleagues, we will continue to enforce the hazardous materials laws against those who would seek to compromise the integrity of DOT's HAZMAT safety program,” said Marlies T. González, U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General regional special agent-in-charge.

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