Home World Australia: Radioactive capsule found | CTV News

Australia: Radioactive capsule found | CTV News

by News Desk
0 comment

Perth, Australia –

Authorities in Western Australia on Wednesday recovered a small but dangerous radioactive capsule that fell from a truck while being transported on the 1,400-kilometer outback highway last month.

A pea-sized capsule was found south of the mining town of Newman along the Great Northern Highway, officials said. A search vehicle traveling at 70 kilometers per hour found that the radiation emitted from the capsule was picked up by specialized equipment.

A portable search device was then used to locate 2 meters away from the side of the road.

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said: “This is an extraordinary result…we literally found a needle in the haystack.”

Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the capsule did not appear to move and no injuries were reported.

It contains a cesium-137 ceramic source commonly used in radiation meters, emitting dangerous amounts of radiation equivalent to receiving 10 x-rays an hour. It can cause skin burns and prolonged exposure can cause cancer.

The search party searched the length of the highway for six days.

The capsules measure 8 mm x 6 mm (0.31 inches x 0.24 inches) and warn that they could inadvertently get stuck in your car’s tires.

A government investigation has been launched into how the capsule fell off the truck and will be reported to the Minister of Health.

Defense officials had identified the capsules, which were encased in lead for safety. It will be kept in Newman’s safe before being transported to a medical facility in the city of Perth.

The capsule was lost in transit between a desert mining site and Perth on 10 January. The truck carrying the capsules arrived at the Perth depot on January 16th. On January 25, emergency services were notified of the missing capsule.

Simon Trott, chief executive of mining giant Rio Tinto Iron Ore, apologized for the incident and thanked the discovery.

“Given the distances involved and the remoteness of the terrain, I think it’s a pretty incredible recovery and really speaks to the tenacity of all those involved in the search,” Trott said.

“The simple fact is that this device should never be lost. We apologize for what has happened and apologize for causing concern within the Western Australian community.” added Trott.

Robertson said an investigation into the accident could lead to prosecution.

“We have the ability to bring prosecutions under the Radiation Safety Act, and we have no doubt that we will consider such prosecutions. We have done so in the past,” Robertson said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said a fine of A$1,000 (US$708) was insufficient as a maximum penalty for mishandling radioactive material.

“It shouldn’t have been lost. That’s the first thing. Second, of course, that number is ridiculously low,” Albanese said.

Dawson said state governments are considering penalties under radiation safety laws.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Canadian Trends