Following a nearly week-long search, Australian authorities on Wednesday (Feb. 1) recovered a radioactive capsule less than the size of a coin that was lost in the vast Outback, according to officials.

The silver capsule, which is 8mm long and 6mm in diameter, contains cesium-137, which emits radiation at a rate of 10 X-rays per hour.

In order to avoid radiation burns or radiation illness, people had been instructed to keep at least 5 meters away from the capsule if they saw it.

The stretch of highway has been searched for the tiny capsule that was lost in transit more than two weeks ago by officials from Western Australia's emergency response department, defense authorities, radiation specialists, and other groups.

According to Western Australian officials, the cesium-137 capsule was discovered when a truck traveling with sophisticated detection equipment picked up the radiation.

The search crew then employed portable detection equipment to locate the capsule, which was around 2 meters from the road's edge, they added.

The military was validating the capsule, which would be transported to a secure location in Perth on Thursday, he added.

The radioactive capsule was part of a gauge that measured the density of iron ore feed from Rio Tinto's Gudai-Darri mine in the remote Kimberley region of the state. The ore was being transported to a plant in Perth's outskirts.

The capsule evidently fell off a truck and landed on the side of the road, according to officials, who added that it was unlikely the region would be contaminated.

Driving by it was thought to be quite low risk, comparable to getting an X-ray.

The capsule was discovered in a distant area far from any population, according to Western Australia's Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson, thus it was unlikely anyone had been exposed to radiation.

According to state radiation safety laws from 1975, he stated there would be an inquiry and potential criminal charges would be taken into account.

According to the law, the maximum fine for improperly handling radioactive materials is A$1,000 (US$707) and A$50 for each day the offense goes unpunished.

"That figure is ridiculously low but I suspect that it's ridiculously low because people didn't think such an item could be lost," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a news conference in the state capital, Perth, referring to the fine.

"It shouldn't have been lost," Albanese said.

Amber-Jade Sanderson, the state minister for health, said at the news conference that her government was working to modify rules to allow for harsher sanctions and cost recovery in such cases.

According to her, the investigation concluded that the loss was the product of negligence rather than conspiracy.

On Monday, Rio Tinto apologized for the loss. It had outsourced the package to professional packaging and transportation companies.