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Search operation in Western Australia: Radioactive capsule found

Status: 02/01/2023 10:11 am

A small radioactive capsule that fell from a truck has kept Western Australia on edge for the past few days. Now, according to the regional government, a “needle in the haystack” has been found.

A small, highly radioactive capsule that went missing in the Australian state of Western Australia has been found. A capsule belonging to mining giant Rio Tinto has been found south of the town of Newman on the Great Northern Highway after it went missing during transit two weeks ago, the regional government said.

Special equipment in one of the used vehicles showed radioactive radiation emitted by the capsule. A further search with handheld equipment led to the capsule, which was about two meters off the road. Drivers were warned beforehand that the capsule might have gotten stuck in one of their tires.

“It’s really found a needle in the haystack and I think Western Australians can sleep well tonight,” regional emergencies secretary Stephen Dawson said.

The eight-by-six millimeter capsule fell from a Rio Tinto subcontractor’s truck as it was being transported 1,400 kilometers from an iron ore mine near the mining town of Newman to Perth between January 12 and 16. It was only when they were unloaded a few days later that their loss was discovered.

Contains highly radioactive cesium-137

After the loss became known, health officials warned people not to approach the capsule less than five meters: it contained highly radioactive cesium-137, which, being in a radius of one meter, had an effect similar to “ten X” on the human body. radiation treatments per hour” and can induce severe radiation sickness.

In the search for the capsule, which is not even the size of a 1-cent euro coin, authorities used portable radiation detectors mounted on vehicles that detect increased radiation within a 20-meter radius.

The mining company apologized

Rio Tinto publicly apologized for the failure. Manager Simon Trott said he regretted the concern the incident had caused to people in Western Australia. The company launched its own investigation to find out how the capsule could have gone missing.

A radioactive capsule was discovered in Western Australia

Jennifer Johnston, ART Singapore, 2/1/2023 at 1:02 pm