Australian authorities find lost radioactive capsule after week search
Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson told a news conference that the military was verifying the Radioactive capsule and it would be taken to a secure facility in the city of Perth on Thursday.
“When you consider the scope of the research area, finding this object was a monumental challenge, the search teams have literally found a needle in a haystack,” Dawson said.
The radioactive capsule was part of a gauge used to measure the density of iron ore feed from Rio Tinto’s Gudai Dari mine in the state’s remote Kimberley region.
The ore was being transported to a facility in the suburbs of Perth – more than the length of the UK.
Officials from Western Australia‘s Emergency Response Department, defense officials, radiologists, and others are searching the stretch of highway for the tiny capsule that went missing in transit more than two weeks ago.
The capsule apparently fell off a truck and landed on the side of the road, officials said, adding that contamination in the area is unlikely.
The silver capsule, 6 mm in diameter and 8 mm long, contains Caesium-137 which emits radiation equivalent to 10 X-rays per hour.
People were told to stay at least five meters (16.5 feet) away from the capsule if they saw it because exposure could cause radiation burns or radiation sickness, although it is believed to have Passed is relatively low risk, as is taking X-ray.