A truck loses radioactive material – level 3

07-02-2023 07:00

Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto apologized it lost a radioactive capsule containing Caesium-137 in the Australian Outback.

Authorities located the coin-size capsule after a week-long search that involved around 100 people along a 1,400-kilometer stretch of highway. Apparently, the capsule fell off a truck and landed on the side of the road. According to officials, due to the research area scope, locating the object was a monumental challenge.

Contamination of the area was very unlikely; however, people were told to stay at least five meters away from the capsule because exposure could cause radiation burns or radiation sickness. Driving by was a relatively low risk, similar to taking an X-ray.

The company uses the capsule to measure the density of iron ore feed from its mine in Australia’s remote Kimberley region.

Difficult words: scope (the area that’s included), contamination something impure from pollution or poison), exposure (affected by something).

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What caused the radioactive capsule to fall off a truck and land on the side of the road?


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