Missing Radioactive Capsule Sparks Urgent Health Alert In Western Australia
Saturday January 28, 2023. 08:00 AM , from Slashdot
A tiny radioactive capsule with the potential to cause skin burns has gone missing as it was transported from a mine in Western Australia. The Guardian reports: Hazardous material experts are searching for the 8mm by 6mm capsule, which is believed to have fallen from a truck as it was traveling the 1,400km between a mine site north of Newman in the Pilbara and a depot in Perth. At an emergency press conference on Friday, the WA chief health officer, Andy Robertson, said the capsule, which is only 6mm by 8mm, emits a 'reasonable' amount of radiation. The radioactive gauges are often used in the mining industry. Health authorities said the amount of radiation exposure was comparable to receiving 10 X-rays in the space of an hour.
Robertson said the capsule was understood to have fallen from a truck during the 1,400km journey, after vibrations worked loose a bolt, and the capsule fell through the bolt hole. The Department of Emergency and Fire Services issued a health alert on Friday saying there was 'radioactive substance risk in parts of the Pilbara, Midwest Gascoyne, Goldfields-Midlands and Perth Metropolitan regions.' DFES country north chief superintendent David Gill said areas around the mine site, north of Newman, and the transport depot had unsuccessfully been searched. Drivers who had travelled along the Great Northern Highway between Newman and Perth were being asked to check their tyres in case the capsule had become stuck in them.
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