The capsule was recovered before anyone was harmed by it.
Last week, Australian authorities reported that a that a tiny capsule, no bigger than a coin, had been lost along a highway in the western part of the country. This capsule contained a radioactive material known as Caesium-137, and if an individual picked it up and held it for several hours, they could become deathly ill.
Authorities began to search the sides of the massive highway, roughly the same length as the entire state of California, setting up cordons and warning all locals not to touch any unusual objects should they happen to find one. Emergency crews slowly drove up and down the highway, searching the vicinity with radiation-detecting equipment.
This morning, after six straight days of searching, the capsule was finally located and safely recovered by authorities, with no locals or wildlife suffering any deleterious effects from it.
“When you consider the scope of the research area, locating this object was a monumental challenge, the search groups have quite literally found the needle in the haystack,” state Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said at a press conference.
A tiny but highly radioactive capsule that went missing in the Australian outback was found Wednesday after a frantic weeklong search covering a highway stretch the length of California.https://t.co/m08DfggE88
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 1, 2023
Authorities are currently researching the precise means by which the capsule fell out of the transport truck that was carrying it from a mine in Rio Tinto. The current working theory is that a screw was loose on the truck, leaving a gap through which the capsule could fall out.
“Of course the simple fact is this device should never have been lost,” iron ore division head Simon Trott said at the press conference. “We’re sorry that that has occurred and we’re sorry for the concern that that has caused within the Western Australian community.”