EFFIE BATEMAN | Lifestyle | Contact
In some good news, it can be confirmed that the tiny radioactive capsule that went missing on a Western Australian highway has been found by none other than the truck driver’s mum, after an exhaustive week-long search.
On January 25th, mining company Rio Tinto reported that one of their Caesium-137 radioactive capsules had gone missing from a truck, having likely fallen off a radiation gauge somewhere along a 1,400 route from the Gudai-Darri mine to Perth. Measuring just 8 x 6mm, experts ranging from radiation protection officials and nuclear science specialists were called across the country, to find the danger pea.
Though it’s not as dangerous as the Mexico City radiation incident, which saw a ten year old boy accidentally pocket an unprotected industrial radiography source that went on to kill multiple members in his household, this capsule emits both beta rays and gamma rays that can cause intensive skin damage. And should the protective coating be damaged, it also has the potential to cause severe tissue necrosis.
With concerns that it could either become lodged in someone’s tire or be carried off by some unlucky animal, authorities were forced to utilise every last resource available – even turning to some very desperate measures, when their radiation detection devices failed to pick up anything.
However, despite having some of the sharpest minds in nuclear science at their disposal, it was the truck driver’s mother, Deb, who found it.
Speaking to The Advocate, head of Rio Tinto mining operations, Dennis Farley admits they were starting to feel quite panicked, and that the company really didn’t need another PR disaster on its hands.
“I really didn’t have much hope that we’d find it”, says Farley, “but then the truck driver told his mum what happened.”
“Said he’d searched everywhere and couldn’t find it.”
“She told him he clearly hadn’t looked for it properly, and she was right.”
“Found it within half an hour without a single device.”
More to come.