PERTH, AUSTRALIA (AP) — A mining company has apologized for the loss of a highly radioactive capsule spanning 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) in Western Australia. Authorities combed sections of the road looking for small but dangerous materials.
The capsule was part of a piece of equipment believed to have fallen from a truck on January 10 during transportation between a desert mining site and the city of Perth.
The truck carrying the capsules arrived at the Perth depot on January 16th. On January 25, emergency services were notified of the missing capsule.
Western Australia’s emergency services are seeking help from other Australian states and the federal government to find the capsules due to lack of equipment. 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.
Cesium-137 ceramic sources commonly used in radiation meters emit dangerous amounts of radiation. This equates to him receiving 10 x-rays in an hour. It can cause skin burns and prolonged exposure can cause cancer.
Simon Trott, chief executive of mining giant Rio Tinto Iron Ore, said Sunday that the company takes the incident very seriously and apologized for causing public concern.
“We are aware that this is obviously of great concern, and we are sorry for the warning that has been triggered in the Western Australian community,” Trott said. We have launched our own investigation to understand how the capsule was lost in transit.”
The search involved people scanning radiation levels from devices along roads used by trucks, suggesting officials may have to search the entire 1,400-kilometer (870-mile) route. I’m here.
The Western Australian Fire Department publicly announced on Friday that the capsule had gone missing, two days after being notified by Rio Tinto.
Trott said the contractor was eligible to transport the device, which was verified by a Geiger counter on the truck before it left the mine.
The police concluded that the incident was an accident and determined that criminal responsibility would likely not be pursued.