A radioactive capsule found in the desert in Australia after an extensive search


This capsule containing cesium-137, which could potentially cause acute radiation, disappeared during trucking.

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A radioactive capsule found in the desert near Newman (Australia), on February 1, 2023 (Department of Emergencies/Western Australian Government/AFP)

“Western Australians will sleep better tonight.” Relief is in mining lands in Western Australia, where authorities announced on Wednesday 1 February that they had recovered A potentially dangerous radioactive capsule that had been in the wilderness for two weeks. “It’s a good thing”Welcomed by local minister Steve Dawson.

This 8mm x 6mm capsule, used during mining operations, contains radioactive material, cesium-137, which has the potential to cause acute radiation, according to authorities. It had gone missing while being transported by lorry in mid-January from a mine near the remote town of Newman to the northern suburbs of Perth. Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has apologized for the loss. The search area spanned approximately 1,400 kilometers.

“Like I said, it was definitely a needle in the haystack of being found.”

Steve Dawson, Western Australian Minister for Emergencies

Quoted by Agence France-Presse

Authorities drove hundreds of miles on highways looking for the tiny capsule. Six days into the operations, one of the depleted vehicles detected radiation as it drove down the highway. Authorities said the object was eventually discovered on the side of a deserted road south of the town of Newman, near the mine from which it had been taken. The latter now attempts to safely retrieve the capsule before moving it to a safe location.


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