Australian authorities are searching for a small capsule containing radioactive material that was lost in transit and are urging anyone who finds it to keep their distance.
The round, silver capsule—about a quarter inch in diameter and a third high—makes an appearance. radioactive material risk Officials in the Pilbara, Midwest Gascoyne, Goldfields-Midlands and Perth regions said.
“Exposure to this substance can cause radiation burns or serious illness – if people see a capsule or anything like that, stay away from it and keep others away from it,” said Dr. Andrew Robertson, Chief Medical Officer of Western Australia and Chair of the Council of Radiology, said in the statement.
Inside the capsule is a small amount of radioactive Cesium-137, which is used in mining.
Officials said the capsule could not be used to make a weapon, but could cause health problems such as radiation burns to the skin.
According to the State Department of Fire Protection and Emergency Situations, the capsule was packed on January 1. 10 were transported by road and the cargo arrived in Perth in January. 16.
But when the measure it was a part of was packed for inspection in January. On the 25th, the workers discovered that the meter had broken apart and the capsule was missing.
The capsule belongs to the mining company Rio Tinto said in the statement We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the missing piece.
The company said it hired a third-party contractor to package the device and is working with that company to figure out what went wrong. Rio Tinto said it also carried out radiological surveys of the area where the device was located, as well as the roads leading into and away from the Gudai-Darry mine site.
The more than 700-mile route from Perth to Newman is now the subject of a massive search. Officials from the Western Australian government, as well as radiation experts, drive slowly up and down the Great Northern Highway, searching for a capsule about the size of a pencil eraser.
Authorities told anyone who might come across the capsule to stay at least 16 feet away from it and not to touch it, instead call the fire and emergency services.
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