Area, hazards and more explored as internet responds with memes 


An emergency search is under way for a miniscule but potentially deadly radioactive capsule in the vastness of a Western Australian highway. The cylinder went missing somewhere between the 12th and 16th of January, when it was being transported to Perth. Netizens have taken to Twitter to create hilarious memes.

The radioactive capsule is the size of a 10-cent coin. The 8mm by 6mm cylinder is believed to have fallen off the back of a truck while being transported from the Rio Tinto, Newman mine, which is 870 miles away from Perth. It reportedly contains caesium-137, a highly radioactive isotope, which is commonly used in radiation gages. Despite being deadly, it cannot be weaponized.

It was only discovered on January 25th that the capsule had gone missing.

we know about the lost radioactive capsule. Don’t touch it.

Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services has deployed a team with radiation detection devices and metal detectors to the route the capsule was traveling in. Speaking about the task at hand, David Gill, a chief superintendent at the Dfes said:

“There are challenges here. It is 1,400 kilometers between the mine site… and Perth. There is the potential that we may not find this. That is possible.”

How do you lose a radioactive capsule FFS 😱 #WA

Search plan for finding the radioactive capsule explored

Darryl Ray, a superintendent with the Dfes, revealed that they were using “radiation detectors to locate the gamma rays.” The equipment reportedly surveys radiation levels across a 20-metre radius using moving vehicles.

The GPS of the truck which was carrying the tiny cylinder is also being looked into to determine the exact journey the vehicle had taken. Unfortunately, it might have gotten stuck in another vehicle’s tire making it next to impossible to find. Andrew Robertson, the chief health officer, also expressed concern over strangers picking it up while unaware of what it is.


Sources claim that exposure to the radioactive cylinder can lead to burns, acute radiation sickness and potentially cancer. Authorities have warned people not to pick it up or go near it as standing within a meter is the equivalent of receiving 10 X-rays within an hour. Robertson stated:

“You could end up with skin damage, including skin burns… and if you have it long enough near you, it could cause acute radiation sickness. If you’re exposed to this, one of the long-term risk of exposure to a source like this is cancer.”

Netizens react to the radioactive cylinder being lost

Despite the situation seeming incredibly dangerous, internet users found it hilarious. Many could not believe that the tine capsule was lost in the vastness of a highway. Many noted that it seems like authorities are trying to find a needle in a haystack. Several memes of Rio Tinto employees’ reactions have found their way online. A few hilarious reactions on Twitter read:

Rio Tinto apologises after radioactive capsule lost in WA.

i was travelling through WA and found the radioactive capsule. she ate

miners from newman, western australia when they check in their truck and the 8 x 6 mm capsule of dangerously radioactive material is missing

A radioactive capsule lost in the outback is actually this guy’s origin story

I can’t be the only one that would 100% touch, possibly lick, the radioactive capsule if I was first on the scene.

So what if a spider in outback Australia found the lost radioactive capsule and ate itWhat then

An investigation into the handing of the cylinder at the Rio Tinto mine site is underway. Police have concluded that the cylinder going loose was an accident and no criminal charges are likely. Authorities have also ruled out theft as there was anti-tampering tape on the box.

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