Australia intensifies search for radioactive capsule

STORY: The hunt for a tiny radioactive capsule missing in Australia's outback has intensified.

The country's nuclear safety agency said on Tuesday (January 31) it had joined the search, sending a team with specialized car-mounted and portable detection equipment.

The silver capsule, which is just 6 millimeters in diameter and 8 mm long, contains Caesium-137 which emits radiation equal to 10 X-rays per hour.

The gauge had been entrusted by the mining giant Rio Tinto to a specialist contractor to transport.

It's believed to have fallen from a truck that had been travelling from a town north of Newman to the northeast suburbs of Perth.

That's a distance longer than the length of Great Britain. Authorities said it will take approximately five days to travel the original route.

Rio apologized on Monday (January 30) for the loss, which happened sometime in the past two weeks.

Western Australia's chief health officer, Andrew Robertson, warned on Friday (January 27) that extended exposure to the capsule could cause skin damage, including burns, and acute radiation sickness.

Though experts have said driving past the capsule would be relatively low risk, akin to having an X-ray.