By The Financial District
Missing Radioactive Capsule From Rio Tinto Found In Australia
Authorities in Western Australia on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, recovered a tiny but dangerous radioactive capsule that fell off a truck while being transported along a 1,400-kilometer (870-mile) Outback highway last month in what an official said was like finding the needle in the haystack, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Photo Insert: Officials said the capsule the size of a pea was found south of the mining town of Newman on the Great Northern Highway.
Officials said the capsule the size of a pea was found south of the mining town of Newman on the Great Northern Highway. It was detected by a search vehicle traveling at 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour when specialist equipment picked up radiation emitting from the capsule.
Portable search equipment was then used to locate it 2 meters (6.5 feet) from the side of the road.
“This is an extraordinary result ... they have quite literally found the needle in the haystack,” said Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson. Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the capsule did not appear to have moved and no injuries had been reported.
It contains the cesium 137 ceramic source, commonly used in radiation gauges, which emits dangerous amounts of radiation, the equivalent of receiving 10 X-rays in an hour.
It could cause skin burns and prolonged exposure could cause cancer. Search crews had spent six days scouring the entire length of the highway.
The capsule measures 8 millimeters by 6 millimeters (0.31 inches by 0.24 inches), and people have been warned it could have unknowingly become lodged in their car’s tires. A government investigation has been launched into how the capsule fell off the truck and a report will be provided to the health minister.
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