A radioactive needle in a haystack: a tiny toxic capsule is missing in Australia

Members of the Incident Management Team coordinate the search for a radioactive capsule (Reuters)
Members of the Incident Management Team coordinate the search for a radioactive capsule (Reuters)

The emergency authorities of Western Australia warned that a tiny radioactive capsule was on the loose, so a harassing search was launched along a long stretch of highway for what was essentially a toxic needle in a haystack.

The Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a largely rural state that constituting the western third of the country, issued a hazardous materials advisory late Saturday, warning that the radioactive capsule had been lost while being transported from a mine near the city of Newman to a suburb near Perththe most populous city in the state.

Darryl Ray, acting head of the emergency department, said in a statement Sunday that officials had been provided with specialized teams to search for the capsule. The team will allow workers to search for the capsule while in a moving vehicle, and they plan to use it this week, he said.

“The capsule has not yet been found”, Ray added.

The capsule, which is less than half a millimeter long, disappeared somewhere along the more than 1,200 km stretch of road between Newman and Perth, the department said. Contains cesium-137a radioactive material used in gauges for mining, a major industry in resource-rich Western Australia.

They use radioactivity detectors (Reuters)
They use radioactivity detectors (Reuters)

Despite its size, the capsule is dangerous.the department warned. “Exposure to this substance could cause radiation burns or radiation sickness,” he said, warning people to don’t touch it or move it if you run into it. Anyone viewing the capsule must remain at least five meters away from her and report it, the department said.

Authorities did not close the road, National Highway 95, for the incident, although the emergency department’s incident map showed the entire stretch of road marked red with a radioactive warning symbol.

The capsule may have been missing for a couple of weeks. He left the mine 12th of January and was believed to have arrived on January 16, but was discovered missing Wednesday when it was not in the package it was being transported in, with the meter inside “vangled” with missing screws and a bolt, the department said. Officials said they believe the capsule fell out of the back of a truck, according to the agency. PA.

Specialists are focusing on “strategic locations” along the route the truck followed, Ray said, noting that they were concentrating on heavily populated areas near Perth.

Cesium-137, the radioactive material inside the capsule, is used, among other things, to detect the flow of liquid through pipes and determine the thickness of materials such as sheet metal, according to the Centers for Control and United States Disease Prevention.

Exposure to the material can increase the risk of cancer, radiation burns, acute radiation sickness and potentially death, according to the CDC.

(c) 2023, The Washington Post

Keep reading:

Alert in Chile for the theft of a nuclear hydrometer, a device that contains radioactive charges

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button