Australia | Desperate search for radioactive capsule in Australia – The fear is that it is no longer in the search area

In Australia, the search is still on for a radioactive capsule that was lost in road transport, which in the worst case can cause long-term health risks for its finder. The capsule has been missing for possibly two weeks already.

Australian authorities continue their desperate 1,400-kilometer search for the tiny radioactive capsule.

The capsule being transported from Newman in Western Australia to Perth is believed to have fallen from the car transport of several wagons already weeks ago.

Officials and experts have expressed concern that someone could find and pick up the tiny capsule without knowing how dangerous it is.

They talk about searches, among other things Reuters and CNN.

Read more: A radioactive capsule disappeared in Australia

The round, silver-colored capsule has a diameter of 6 millimeters and a height of 8 millimeters. Radioactive capsule is part of the equipment used to measure iron ore in mining density.

According to the Australian Fire and Rescue Service, the Cesium-137 isotope contained in the capsule can cause radiation burns and other long-term health risks, such as cancer.

The amount of radiation is equivalent to taking one x-ray every six minutes, Reuters reports. According to CNN’s data, the amount of radiation would be almost twice as high and would correspond to taking seventeen x-rays per hour, i.e. one every three and a half minutes.

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However, it is believed to be relatively safe to drive a car past the capsule. The amount of radiation obtained from it corresponds to one X-ray, Reuters reports.

Cesium-137 has been spread into the environment, for example, in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986.

The missing radioactive capsule is the size of a small coin. You are not looking for it visually, but with devices that detect radiation.

According to Western Australia rescue authorities, a distance of at least five meters should be kept from the capsule, and it should not be touched or taken with it.

In the event that you have come into contact with the capsule, you should immediately seek emergency care.

The worst scenario would be that the capsule would be found, for example, by a curious child, who would put it in his pocket, he says Ivan Kempsonan assistant professor of biophysics at the University of South Australia, according to CNN.

“It would be unlikely, but it can happen and has happened before,” says Kempson.

According to Kempson, there are examples in history of people who have found similar things and suffered from radiation poisoning. In this case, according to Kempson, however, it was a case of stronger radiation than what the missing capsule emits.

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Australian the fire and rescue service said on Monday that clearing the transport route would take five days. The route is traveled at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour with devices that detect radiation.

More personnel and equipment were received on Tuesday for the search that started on Thursday.

“The devices can detect the radiation from the missing capsule. They are currently being used in the Perth metropolitan area and its suburbs,” a rescue worker Darryl Ray said in the announcement.

According to the rescue service, 660 kilometers of the transport route had been examined by Tuesday.

In addition to the rescue service, the police, the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency and Australia’s national nuclear organization are also involved in the search.

However, the fear is that the capsule is no longer in the search area. According to the authorities, it could have traveled further, for example in the tires of a car or carried by a wild animal, for example a bird.

Lost the capsule was transported from the Rio Tinto company’s mining area in Newman to Perth on January 12.

According to the company, the position of the capsule in the load was verified with a geiger meter that measures radiation before the departure of the transport. The transport took four days, but the cargo was only unloaded on Wednesday, January 25, when the absence of the capsule was noticed, CCN says.

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Rio Tinto company regrets about the loss of the capsule and says that he will offer the authorities his help in its search. The packaging made for the capsule is suspected to have broken due to the vibration caused by the bad road.

According to the radiation authorities of Western Australia, radioactive materials are transported in the area every day without any problems. Their storage and transport is strictly regulated.

“It appears that the control measures typically implemented have failed in this case,” the authorities inform, according to CNN.

Australian authorities are searching for a small radioactive capsule that fell 1,400 kilometers away. The map in the picture shows the route of the car that transported the capsule.

The radiation of cesium-137 is halved in about thirty years. After this, it will be halved again in about sixty years, says the radiation safety expert Pradeep Deb from Melbourne’s RMIT University, according to CCN.

At this rate, the capsule would remain radioactive for the next 300 years, says Deb.

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