Australia Scrambling For Tiny “Extremely Radioactive” Capsule That Dropped

Have you ever gone back to the house to grab something, but couldn’t find it when you arrived? You’re sure you put it in your car, but it’s gone.

Well, Australia is struggling with that, only much more gravely. Australia now faces a radioactive risk in addition to thousands of decaying fish. Authorities lost a tiny, radioactive stone.

The small capsule vanished during a roughly 900-mile truck trip. Its location is unknown, which is problematic. The tiny capsule emits intense radiation. Being near it is like getting over a dozen X-rays.

Authorities are searching desperately for the capsule. However, its modest size and large potential location make it like searching for a grain of sand in a desert.

Truck Dropped It

Between January 11-16, the radioactive capsule vanished. It was being trucked from the Pilbara mine in West Australia to Perth. The capsule is tiny. It’s smaller than a nickel at 6 x 8 mm.

The capsule is a radioactive cesium-137 radiation gauge. Mining and oil refinery professionals utilize these gadgets to monitor subterranean radiation.

Having completed its duty at the Pilbara mine, the capsule was already on its journey back to Perth for storage. It wasn’t in the vehicle in Perth.

How such a radiating pebble disappeared is unknown. The current explanation states that an unusual series of circumstances caused its loss.

Australian media reported the truck container fell owing to a rocky voyage, despite being packed safely. The capsule fell onto the vehicle floor.

It found a bolt-hole there. The capsule fit through the hole and fell onto the road. It’s located along the 870-mile mine-Perth route.

X-Rays And Radiation

However, Australian officials are quite anxious to find the capsule. Though little, it is indeed harmful. Fortunately, the capsule cannot be “weaponized.” It remains a major health danger.

Lauren Steen, general manager of Radiation Services WA, stated standing three feet away would be like getting 17 chest X-rays. An hour at that proximity would give you as much exposure as a year.

Closer increases the hazards. Cesium-137 emits beta and gamma radiation, thus picking it up might burn you.

Acute radiation poisoning can result from prolonged exposure. That kills. Knowing what it is, you wouldn’t touch it. It’s tiny and inconspicuous.

What if someone grabbed it and put it in their pocket? Scarier, what if they carried it home and put it in a drawer?

Australian police have warned drivers along the pebble’s path to check their tires. Call the emergency services if they find a weird metal object on them.

Regulatory Failure

Sadly, the capsule may never be found. It might be lost for years under sand and debris. The event has raised concerns regarding capsule security, as expected. Experts say mistakes were made.

The capsule might end up in a public place, making locals uneasy. Authorities cannot allay their anxieties. They must hope they discover the capsule quickly.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.