Radioactive capsule missing after falling off truck in Australia

Authorities are unsure where the capsule broke free from the trick (Image: Shutterstock/DFES/Google)

Authorities are unsure where the capsule detached from the truck (Image: Shutterstock/DFES/Google)

An extremely radioactive capsule has been misplaced in Australia.

Touching can cause skin burns or an “acute radiation system” if handled for a long period of time.

The capsule was lost in transit between the mines at Newman and Perth.

Authorities believe vibrations along the route caused a bolt to dislodge from the container it was transported in.

The capsule would then have fallen through the hole and off the flatbed truck carrying the radioactive material.

Although the voyage began earlier this month, the pod was not reported missing until Wednesday.

Andrew Robertson, Chief Health Officer for Western Australia, said at a news conference: “Our concern is that someone might pick it up without knowing what it is, think ‘oh, that’s something interesting’ and put it in their room. Keep it in the car, give it to someone else without realizing what they’re dealing with.

“So our concern is to really draw the public’s attention to it.

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Australia lost a very small, very radioactive capsule (do not touch)

People have been urged not to pick up the tiny capsule (Image: DFES)

“Well that’s probably a low risk as it may have been lost on the side of the road and may not be found by anyone.”

Mr Robertson said the capsule, which is around six millimeters in diameter and eight millimeters high, emits a “reasonable amount of radiation”.

He said: “It emits about two millisieverts of radiation per hour. So that’s a source we have to be very careful with. What’s two millisieverts now, folks, that’s about ten X-rays in an hour.

“Just to put it in context, two millisieverts is also the amount of natural radiation we would receive in a year just walking around.

“So if you have contact or have it in your area, you can either end up with skin damage, including skin burns over a period of time. And if you have it around you long enough, it could lead to something called acute radiation sickness, but that’s going to take time.’

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Justin Scacco

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