A Perth scientist has urged authorities to review the standards and regulations around transporting small toxic items, describing the loss of the radioactive capsule in remote WA as a “wake-up call”. The small silver pod — reported lost in transit between Rio Tinto’s mine north of Newman, and a depot in Malaga last week — was discovered about 11am on Wednesday following a mass search operation. Associate Professor Nigel Marks from Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences said authorities were “very lucky” to have found the capsule. “It was never going to be terribly dangerous to many people’s health, but it could have potentially really hurt one person if they accidentally picked it up,” Mr Marks told The West Australian. “Thankfully, that did not happen, so it’s a good story in the end. But it’s a bit of a wake-up call. No one got hurt but a lot of money, time and effort got spent.” Professor Marks praised authorities’ efforts in finding the capsule but said it was crucial for the industry to learn from its “mistakes” to ensure it never happened again. “I don’t think you can transport a radioactive source inside a fairly large piece of mining equipment,” he said. “It’s a fairly thin piece of equipment that they use as part of their operations that contains the (radioactive) source and that was packed into a wooden pallet and then loaded into the back of the truck. “I think that’s not acceptable. So at universities, I mean medical radioactive sources, everything’s in a lead-lined box and that’s inside another box and you lock it. “So people have got to use their brains to make sure that other mistakes don’t happen.” The capsule was found 2m from the roadside just outside of Newman, a short distance from where its trip had started at a Rio Tinto mine site. It was detected by a truck driving at around 70km/h while carrying Commonwealth-supplied equipment that scans for radioactive activity. After the truck alerted authorities to the presence of radiation, smaller, more highly-calibrated hand-held devices were used to pinpoint the exact location of the capsule. The Australian Defence Force has now verified the capsule using its serial number and a 20m “hot zone” has been established around where it was found, although Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the area was unlikely to have suffered any kind of lasting contamination. “It is remote enough that it’s not in any major community. So it is unlikely that anybody has been exposed to the capsule,” he added. The capsule has been placed in a lead-lined box and will be stored in Newman overnight before being transported to a WA Health facility in Perth tomorrow.