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Australia: Missing radioactive capsule triggers health warning
Canberra: A missing radioactive capsule lost somewhere between Perth and a Pilbara mine site over an area of 1,400 kilometres in Australia has triggered an urgent health warning, ABC News reported. Emergency services have started the search for the missing radioactive capsule which is 6mm in diameter and 8mm in height.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Western Australia's chief health officials urged people to stay away from the capsule if they see it due to its radioactive properties. Radioactive gauges are used in mining and it went missing from a truck sometime after January 10, according to ABC News report. As per the news report, the radioactive capsule could be anywhere along the more than 1,400 km journey between Malaga, in Perth and Newman in Western Australia's remote north. Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the capsule was lost while it was being transported, somewhere between a mine site north of Newman and Malaga, northeast of Perth, according to ABC News.
The statement released by Health department of Western Australia said, "The capsule is small (6mm diameter and 8mm tall), round and silver."
The Health department of Western Australia further said, "It contains a small quantity of radioactive Caesium-137, a substance used in mining operations, that went missing in transportation between a mine site north of Newman and the north-eastern parts of Perth between 10-16 January. The capsule cannot be weaponised however it can cause serious health consequences."
As per the ABC News news report, it is believed that the capsule fell through the gap left by a bolt hole, after the bolt was dislodged when a container collapsed due to vibrations during the trip. Department of Fire and Emergency Services Chief Superintendent Country North David Gill said that a search was launched to find the capsule and safely contain it.
"DFES was notified by WA Police on 25 January and is now coordinating the search as the lead agency for hazardous materials," David Gill said in the statement.
"A multi-agency Incident Management Team, comprised of DFES, Department of Health, WA Police and other subject matter experts, are confirming the exact route and stops made during the journey from north of Newman, he added. (ANI)