6 June 2024

A total of 12.4 tonnes of metallic dust, believed to be contaminated with caesium-137, which was being kept at a factory in Rayong, have been ordered to be sent back to a foundry in Prachin Buri.

Rayong Governor Traipob Wongtrairat, accompanied by officials from the provincial industrial works and natural resources and environment offices and local administrators visited the warehouse of a company in Mueang district yesterday (Monday), where 16 large bags of metallic dust, weighing about 12.4 tonnes, are being kept.

The metallic dust came from a foundry in Prachin Buri. The officials used a radiation detector to check the bags and found traces of caesum-137, but the level of radiation was within acceptable limits.

The governor has, however, ordered the warehouse to close temporarily and to move all 16 bags of metallic dust back to the foundry in Prachin Buri within three days.

The governor has instructed the provincial health office to monitor for anyone who may have been exposed to the radioactive material and to provide them with medical help.

A metallic cylinder, containing caesium-137, was found to have gone missing from a steam power plant in Si Maha Phot district of Prachin Buri on March 10th. An extensive search for the radioactive material was launched by the Prachin Buri provincial administration and the Office of Atoms for Peace. Eventually, officials detected strong radiation, believed to come from caesium-137, at a foundry in the province.

It is believed, however, that the cylinder and its radioactive content was melted, with other metallic scrap, in the foundry.