Australian authorities are deploying more personnel and specialized equipment as the search continues. small radioactive capsule Somewhere in the Outback I fell off a truck.
“Today’s delivery further strengthens our search efforts and complements the equipment we have been using since we began our search last Thursday,” said Daryl Ray, Incident Controller for the Fire and Emergency Services Division in a statement. said in
“The device is able to detect radiation emitted by the missing capsule and is currently in use in the Perth metropolitan area and suburbs.”
of Western Australia The Fire and Emergency Services Agency (WADFES) has issued a radiation alert for much of the state.
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The 8mm long capsule contains cesium 137 and emits radiation equivalent to 10 x-rays per hour. The capsule was part of a gauge for measuring the density of iron ore owned by baling specialist Rio Tinto Ltd.
WADFES has expressed concern that the device may have been lodged in the tire treads of passing vehicles, or that someone may have found the device and kept it as a keepsake.
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Rio Tinto has apologized for the incident and is sorry for the alarm it caused, the BBC reported. faced a number of controversiesThis includes an incident in 2020 when workers demolished a 46,000-year-old rock shelter to expand an iron ore mine, sparking mass protests and several executives resigning from their posts. was forced to
The search team speculates that vibrations from the road may have loosened the gauge screws and bolts, causing the capsule to fall out.
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The truck, part of a ‘road train’, made an 870-mile trip through Western Australia on Monday. Safety services searched over 400 miles of terrain for the capsule.
The Department of Defense and local police are working with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization to locate the device.
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Officials advise anyone who finds the capsule to stay at least 16 feet away because exposure can cause radiation burns and illness.
Reuters contributed to this report.