SYDNEY (AFP) – A tiny but dangerously radioactive capsule which fell off a truck along a remote stretch of outback highway in Australia last month was found yesterday, authorities said.
The solid, silver-coloured cylinder is smaller than a human fingernail – just eight millimetres by six millimetres – but the authorities said it contains enough Caesium-137 to cause acute radiation sickness.
It was discovered at the side of a desert highway just south of the town of Newman, Western Australia – near the desert mine it came from, the state’s emergency services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.
“It’s a good result,” West Australian Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson told reporters. “It’s certainly a needle in a haystack that has been found, and I think West Australians can sleep better tonight.”
Authorities had scoured hundreds of kilometres of highway in search of the tiny capsule.
The six-day hunt came to an end after a search vehicle detected radiation while travelling along the highway, with authorities working to safely remove the capsule before taking it to a secure location, Klemm said.