Frantic search for radioactive material missing from power plant in Prachin Buri
Officials from Thailand’s Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) and Prachin Buri provincial administration are trying to recover an unspecified amount of Caesium-137 radioactive material, which went missing from a steam power plant in Prachin Buri Province on February 23rd.
The dangerous material is contained in a steel tube, about five inches in diameter and 12 inches long, and anyone who encounters it are advised to stay away and immediately alert the authorities.
Prachin Buri Governor Ronnarong Nakornjinda and OAP Secretary-General Permsuk Sutchaphiwat went to the power plant to investigate. The governor expressed concern that the dangerous material might have been stolen or improperly disposed of, which will be harmful to people who come into close contact with it.
Cesium-137 is a radioactive isotope formed as one of the more common products by the nuclear fission of uranium-235 and other fissionable isotopes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, according to Wikipedia.
An expert in the disposal of radioactive materials, Sumetha Wichienpet, said that Caesium-137 was used in checking for invisible cracks in pipelines in the power plant, adding that the radiation emitted from Cesium-137 into the environment does not exceed 7 Rem but, in nature, the amount of radiation should not exceed 1 Rem.
The radiation is invisible, has no odour and those who are exposed to it will suffer necrosis on the part of the body which was in contact with the material and, over the following days, their natural immunity will be reduced and their hair will start to fall out.