Radioactive Cesium-137 material found in Prachinburi (Update)

Photo: Prachinburi Provincial Office
Photo: Prachinburi Provincial Office

Radioactive materials from a missing cylinder containing dangerous levels of a nuclear isotope were discovered yesterday.

Officials detected traces of radioactive Cesium-137 on Sunday at a smelting plant in Prachinburi’s Kabin Buri district, not far from the power plant where it had disappeared around one month ago.

A search team detected the isotope while scanning piles of scrap metals and compressed steel for radioactive materials.

Provincial Gov. Narong Nakornjinda indicated Sunday that they had found the metal cylinder which had gone missing about a month ago. It was unclear today whether all of the missing material had been located.

Update: Nothing to worry about broken radioactive cylinder, Thai officials insist

The factory reportedly has been sealed off for safety reasons. The public have been cautioned to avoid direct contact with radioactive material, which can cause skin rashes, hair loss, canker sores, fatigue, and vomiting. Those exposed to radiation face a high risk of cancer in the long term. 

More details are expected from officials with the Office of Atoms for Peace, which were due to hold a press conference at Prachinburi City Hall.

The cylinder had been missing from the National Power Plant 5A in Prachinburi’s Si Maha Phot district for weeks. The factory set a bounty of those with information leading to the discovery of the cylinder up to THB100,000 (US$2,900).

Update: After initially saying the cylinder had been located, officials now say they recovered radioactive “dust” containing Cesium-137, and it is not clear whether all of the material has been recovered.

Missing: 1 highly radioactive cylinder misplaced by Thai power plant

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