The whereabouts of a missing radioactive capsule that was utilized in mining operations by Rio Tinto and caused a radiation alarm in Western Australia have been established.
The stainless steel instrument, which measures the density of iron ore feed and measures 6 millimeters by 8 millimeters (0.24 inch by 0.32 inch), fell off the back of a truck driven by a qualified third party.
After traveling 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) across a rural area, the capsule was reported as missing. The gauge arrived on January 16 after being sent to a specialized facility in Perth for maintenance. However, it wasn’t until Jan. 25 that the capsule went missing, and it’s believed to have fallen loose on the rocky route.
Despite posing a low risk to the general public due to its size and remote location, emergency services conducted a massive search operation to uncover the device, which they warned may produce radiation burns or radiation sickness from close exposure. Rio Tinto, a massive Anglo-Australian mining company, declared it was helping in the endeavor.
Authorities in Western Australia said on Wednesday that the device had been contained and managed.
On the Great Northern Highway, close to the town of Newman, about 1,100 kilometers north of Perth, it was discovered by the side of the road.
After a slow-moving roadside quest with the aid of sophisticated radiation equipment, emergency service personnel and a team from Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organization discovered it.
According to the authorities, it will now be delivered safely to a medical facility in Perth, Western Australia.
Simon Trott, the chief executive of the iron ore company, apologized on Monday for causing worry.
Trott commended the emergency services for their work in a statement on Wednesday.
“The fact is that the capsule shouldn’t have been lost in the first place, even though its recovery is a fantastic testimonial to the expertise and determination of the search crew. I’d like to apologize to Western Australia’s larger community for the anxiety it has caused,” he stated.
Trott noted that although incidents of this nature are uncommon, the business was looking into how they happened and if it was appropriate to pack and transport radioactive items using specialized contractors.