A VAN carrying radioactive products crashed into a lorry and low levels of radiation was recorded.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the incident at 12am this morning on the M40 Junction six to five south bound.

On arrival it was found that the injured driver of the van was still sat in the front seat and that he was transporting several radioactive packages that may have been damaged in the collision.

Thames Valley Fire Control Service sent four fire engines from Thame, Slade Park, Didcot and Watlington. A Specialist Decontamination and Environmental Protection Unit from Didcot was also sent.

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Firefighters using specialist radiation detection equipment approached the vehicle along with Paramedics from South Central Ambulance to rescue the driver from the vehicle.

Low levels of radiation were recorded but the driver was able to be quickly rescued from the van and removed to a safe area and subsequently checked for radiation contamination before being taken to hospital by Ambulance.

The M40 was closed in both directions and safety cordons were put in place around the van.

Station Manager Andy Ford from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue said: “This was a potentially very hazardous incident, with radioactive containers that may have been damaged and leaking in the van. Our initial priority was to rescue the driver, which was carried as quickly as possible ensuring emergency personnel were not near the van for very long.

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“Then working with our specialist hazardous materials advisors and using firefighters in breathing apparatus with gas-tight protective suits, we were able to identify the type of radioactive materials being transported and, using specialist detection equipment, record the levels of radiation being emitted. Because the levels of radiation detected around the van were significantly above normal, the area had to be cordoned off to await specialist containment and recovery”

Once the van and the radioactive materials were secured, the scene was handed over to Thames Valley Police to arrange specialist recover of the van and its contents.