Sat, 01 Apr 2023

CANBERRA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Australia's nuclear regulatory agency has joined the search for a radioactive capsule missing in the outback.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) confirmed that it has started working with authorities in Western Australia (WA) to locate the capsule.

The eight-millimeter caesium-137 capsule, which is part of a gauge used to measure the density of iron ore, was reported missing along a route in remote WA in January, prompting a radiation alert for a large part of the state and an emergency search.

Authorities have started retracing the route of the capsule which went missing while being transported from a mining site to a storage facility in Perth.

The ARPANSA said it has sent a deployment team with specialized car-mounted and portable radiation detection equipment to help with the search.

"This equipment and expertise form part of ARPANSA's national radiation protection and emergency response capability," the agency said in a statement.

"The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has also sent deployment teams of radiation services specialists, detection and imaging equipment to assist in the search," the statement said.

Members of the public have been warned to stay at least five meters away from the capsule if they find it, with direct contact likely to cause radiation burns or sickness.

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