However, exposure to trace quantities of the metal is like “receiving 10 x-rays in an hour, just to put it in context, and… the amount of natural radiation we would receive in a year, just by walking around,” said Western Australia’s chief health officer Andrew Robertson.
Source link Mining giant BHP has issued an apology following news of a missing radioactive capsule in Western Australia.
The uranium oxide capsule was believed to have been sucked out of the company’s port in the town of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of the state. It is thought to have gone missing sometime between November 9 and December 17.
The lost source of radiation posed no risk to the public, according to the company, but could raise concerns about the safety of other resources managed by BHP.
BHP spokeswoman Emily Regis said in a statement that the company was taking urgent action to locate the capsule. This includes conducting an audit of the truck that transported the source and assessing additional security measures.
“We are very sorry for this event,” Ms Regis said. “We take our responsibility for the security of our sources of radiation very seriously. We have implemented all applicable regulations in obtaining and managing the source, and we remain focused on finding the source, verifying it is safe, and putting measures in place to prevent a similar event from happening in the future.”
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has been notified of the incident and is working with BHP to find the source of the radiation.
The missing capsule is just the latest headline-grabbing incident to come out of the state’s mining industry. In December, an open-cut coal mine operated by Rio Tinto triggered an environmental crisis when it allowed acidic runoff to flow into nearby rivers, killing thousands of fish. This prompted an investigation by the Western Australia Environment Protection Authority.
It is not yet known what, if any, action will be taken against BHP for the radiation mishap but the company said it would continue to cooperate with authorities.