A truck that plunged into a central North Island stream this
morning was not carrying any radioactive substances,
according to the Fire Service, but its driver is still
Radiation fears were sparked after the fully-laden B-train
truck, marked with a radioactive materials sign, was found in
the Waihohonu Stream on State Highway 1 between Waiouru and
Emergency services were called to the scene outside the
Tongariro National Park boundary at 4.22am.
Fears over the truck's spilled cargo have forced the closure
of the Desert Road and the nearby Rangipo Power Station,
while the driver of the truck was yet to be located.
Fire Service northern communications shift manager Jaron
Phillips this morning confirmed no radioactive substances
were found on the truck.
"We've gone through the manifest and the company as well, and
it's confirmed that is was carrying no radioactive
substance," he told APNZ.
Mr Phillips said concerns were raised because the entire
contents of the truck were in the river.
He said the truck contained aerosol containers and was also
believed to contain an environmentally hazardous insecticide
Numerous organisations are responding to the incident,
including the local council, police, the Fire Service
hazardous materials unit and the National Radiation
Communications in the remote area were difficult but a
satellite communications channel was now up and running.
Police said SH1 would remain closed for a considerable time
and diversions were being put in place.
They said the safety of people at the scene and the wider
public was paramount.
Turangi volunteer fire crews were replaced earlier this
morning by three crews from Rotorua's Hazardous Chemical
Unit, who remain at the scene.
Chief Fire Officer Tong Kingi said the operation would be a
long one, due to the amount of debris.
"There is stuff everywhere. It was a full laden B-train truck
with a soft curtain side. The majority of spilt material is
around the truck."
Mr Kingi said while the Waihohonu Stream is referred to as a
stream, it was more like a river and was reasonably
"When we arrived early this morning it was not clear how much
debris had fallen into the stream because it was still so
dark, but on daylight, we could see quite a bit of material
trapped in whirlpools and around rocks in the stream.
"It's a massive environmental operation," he said.
Genesis Energy spokesman Richard Gordon said the Rangipo
Power Station had been closed as a result of the crash.
The 120 megawatt power station, which generates enough
electricity to power about 100,000 homes, turned off its
turbines about 7.30am.
"We're not sure at this stage what material is in the river
from the truck crash, and we're taking a precautionary
approach. We've got intake screens to stop large things going
through into the Rangipo turbines, but we're not sure what
material was on the truck."
Mr Gordon said it was unclear when the power station could