SYDNEY : Authorities reported that a radioactive capsule used in mining was lost while traveling to Perth, the state's capital, prompting a radiation alert for some areas of Western Australia on Saturday.
Authorities in the biggest state in Australia sent out the warning on Friday regarding a "radioactive substance risk" in a number of areas, including Perth.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services reported that the tiny, silver capsule containing Caesium-137 went missing during transport from the northeast suburbs of Perth to the north of Newman, a small town in the remote Kimberley region.
"The material is utilized in gauges for mining operations. This substance's exposure could result in radiation sickness or radiation burns "the agency stated.
According to the state's health agency, the capsule vanished as it was being transported in a truck from a mine to a storage facility in Perth. Nearly 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) northeast of Perth is Newman.
According to authorities, the truck left the site on January 12, but it wasn't until this week that it was realized the capsule was missing. At that point, emergency services were informed.
The capsule reportedly came from a mine owned by Rio Tinto Ltd. An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by the business.
The capsule could result in radiation burns and skin redness if it is kept close to the body, according to Western Australia's chief health officer Andrew Robertson.
"They could have some more acute effects, including impacts on their immune system, if it was kept long enough and they were exposed for long enough," he told reporters.
He explained that it was believed that the gauge broke apart due to the truck's vibration, which allowed the item to escape.