A tiny dangerously radioactive capsule, which fell in mid-January from a mining giant Rio Tinto truck on an isolated road in the Australian Outback, has been found, authorities announced on Wednesday February 1.
The silver-coloured cylinder, which measures 8mm by 6mm, was found on the side of the road near the remote town of Newman, Western Australia state emergency services said.
"A needle in a haystack"
It had been lost during its transport between a mine near the city of Newman and the northern suburbs of Perth (south-west), a distance of approximately 1400 kilometers.
His disappearance went unnoticed until the end of the month.
Authorities have traveled hundreds of miles of highway in search of the tiny capsule, which contains a radioactive substance, Cesium-137, which can cause acute radiation syndrome.
After six days of research, one of the mobilized vehicles detected radiation while traveling on the highway.
It's a good thing.
As I said, it was clearly a needle in a haystack that was found and I think people in Western Australia will be able to sleep better tonight
,” Steve Dawson, Minister for Health, told reporters. Australian state emergency services.
Read alsoTo what dose of natural radioactivity are you exposed in your municipality?
The radioactive capsule was part of a gauge used in the mining industry to measure the density of iron ore.
On Wednesday, a team - including members of the Australian military - identified the capsule before loading it into a lead-lined container to protect the radiation response team.
She has now been transported to a "
place of safety
" and will begin a further journey to Perth on Thursday, according to emergency services.
The site has been inspected and cleared of any residual radiological contamination
,” they added.
The British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto welcomed the recovery of the capsule and reiterated its apologies for the "
I would like to apologize to the entire Western Australian community for the concern that
has been raised," Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott said in a statement.
An investigation into the incident has been opened and sanctions are being considered.
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