Search for missing Caesium-137 intensifies, public health officials on standby
Local officials and those from Thailand’s Office of Atoms for Peace have launched searches for a canister of radioactive Caesium-137, which has gone missing from a steam power plant in Si Maha Phot district of Prachin Buri.
Meanwhile, a 50,000 baht reward has been offered by National Power Plant 5A Company, which operates the power plant, for information which leads to the recovery of the radioactive material, contained in a steel tube, about two inches in diameter and 8 inches long and weighing about 25kg.
A representative of the company said that they discovered that the radioactive material was missing during the routine check on March 10th and has filed a complaint with Si Maha Phot district police.
Officials, equipped with radiation detectors, searched a number of scrap shops in Si Maha Phot district today (Wednesday) but, so far, they have not found any trace of the Caesium-137. There are 26 scrap shops in the district.
Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said today that he has instructed the Emergency Health Division to be on standby, to prepare a list of radiation experts and to coordinate with Ramathibodi and Nopparat Rajathanee hospitals in case people become exposed to radiation and require treatment.
He said that brief exposure to the radioactive material will not have much effect on health, but prolonged exposure is harmful to the body.