A capsule containing a very dangerous radioactive substance was found in Australia, where it had been searched for since mid-January, after it was lost during its transportation.
“This is good news. Like I said, it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Now Western Australians can sleep peacefully,” Steve Dawson, head of emergency services for the vast Australian region, told reporters.
The capsule was lost during transportation by Australian mining company Rio Tinto, between the Pilbara region – where the company has more than a dozen extraction points – and the city of Perth.
Searches were mainly focused on the Great Nortehern Motorway, a motorway more than 1,400 kilometers long.
The small capsule (six millimeters in diameter and eight millimeters in height) contained a “small amount” of cesium-137, a radioactive material used in mining.
According to the Western Australian Department of Health, the capsule went missing while it was being transported by truck between January 10 and 16.
The Australian Nuclear Safety Agency joined the search on Monday, activating mechanisms designed to protect “society from the harmful effects of radiation”.
The radioactive material was loaded onto the truck on January 10 and the vehicle arrived in Perth six days later.
On January 25, Rio Tinto inspectors realized that the container containing the radioactive material had been damaged and that the capsule had been lost during the flight.
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