Radioactive Capsule Gets Lost Then Found in Australia

By Lauren Dulare

A small radioactive capsule was reported to be missing in Western Australia. The reason this capsule was so determined to be found is because it contains Caelsum-137, which is a very radioactive substance that is possibly lethal as it can cause multiple health risks leading to death. Authorities in Australia believe the capsule has fallen off the back of a truck that was being transported in The Great Northern Highway. 

Mining company, Rino Tinto, that used the capsule apologized to officials on the day that the capsule went missing and is supporting the state government in their efforts to find it. The company also stated that they have been looking for the capsule in the roads in and out of the mine they used it in before a contractor collected it. 

The capsule is smaller than a penny, and due to its small size, it made the search for it incredibly difficult. Authorities said the chances of finding it were very slim, and there were fears that the capsule may have been located outside of the search zone, which is the the road the truck too and in the mine from Rino Tinto, creating a radioactive health risk for anyone who came across it as it can cause skin burns, radioactive sickness, and potentially cancer. 

During the search, investigators have been following the truck’s route for days. According to DFES Incident Controller Darryl Ray, there have been vehicles that had radiation detectors attached on them while driving the truck’s route, and have been ‘sweeping the area carefully and slowly’. 

But just recently, investigators have finally found it on a remote highway’s roadside.  Authorities have announced the discovery six days after the capsule was lost. “Locating this object was a monumental challenge – the search groups have quite literally found the needle in the haystack,” state Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said. 

“I think West Australians can sleep better tonight,” Dawson added.

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