Authorities in Western Australia said on Wednesday they have found a small box containing radioactive material that went missing on an Outback road last month.
A round silver capsule — measuring about a quarter of an inch in diameter by a third of an inch long, or the size of a pea — was found south of Newman’s mining town on the Great North Road. It was discovered by a research vehicle when the equipment technician removed the radio equipment from the launch box.
A portable search instrument was then placed about 2 meters (6.5 feet) from the side of the road.
The search operation crossed 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from the Outback to metropolitan Perth and was successful in just seven days.
“We found it essentially a needle in a haystack,” Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said in a statement. “When you look at the challenge of spending less than a hundred bucks on a 1,400-kilometre stretch of the Great Northern Road, it’s a huge achievement.”
Officials said before their recovery the radioactive substance posed a risk to the Pilbara, Midwest Gascoyne, Goldfields-Midlands and Perth regions.
“Exposure to this substance could cause burns or serious radiation sickness – if people see a capsule or something that looks like it, they should stay away from it and keep others away from it as well,” Dr. Andrew Robertson, Western Australia’s chief health officer and radiological consultant. chair, said in the constitution.
Inside the box is a small amount of radioactive Caesium 137, which is used in mining operations.
Authorities said the capsule could not be used as a weapon, but could cause health problems, such as radiation burns to the skin.
According to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the box was packed on January 10 for transport by road, and the ship arrived in Perth on January 16.
But when the guesswork was subject to inspection on January 25, the workers discovered that the guesswork had been broken and the box was missing.
The capsule belongs to the mining company Rio Tinto, which said in a statement that it is sorry for the fear of the missing piece.
The company said it has hired a third-party contractor for the engineering package and is working with that company to figure out what went wrong. Rio Tinto said it would also carry out radiological surveys of the areas where it had been engineered as well as routes to and from the Gudai-Darri mine site.
The journey of more than 700 miles from Perth to Newman then became a huge problem. Officials from the Western Australian government as well as radio operators slowly drove up and down the Great Northern Highway in the hunt for a box about as wide as lead eraser.
Authorities warned anyone who comes across the box to stay at least 16 feet away from it and not touch it, but to call fire and emergency services instead.
#small #dangerous #radioactive #capsule #Western #Australia