Frantic search for radioactive cylinder in Thailand

In Thailand there is no trace of a cylinder with dangerous cesium-137. The authorities urge caution.

In Thailand, a container with highly radioactive content has disappeared without a trace. The steel cylinder with dangerous caesium-137 came from a steam power plant in the province of Prachin Buri in the east of the country.

He has probably been missing since the end of February, but the operators only alerted the police last Friday, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported, citing the authorities. The radioisotope is used in industrial measuring devices, among other things.

The equivalent of a 1,400 euro reward

A reward of 50,000 Thai baht (about 1,400 euros) has been offered for information on the whereabouts of the container, which weighs around 25 kilograms, said the head of the province’s public health services, Surin Suebsueng. “If you find anything that looks like the cesium-137 cylinder, please inform the authorities. Stay away and don’t try to open it,” Suebsueng said.

A special team has been set up to monitor possible cases of illness caused by the radioactive substance. However, no such case has been discovered so far.

Lost in transit

While authorities initially pursued a possible theft, it is now said that the cylinder may have been lost in transit to another location. Among other things, a search was made for the container at scrap dealers in the area.

In late January, a radioactive capsule fell off a truck while being transported from a mine to a depot in Western Australia. Experts and emergency services searched feverishly for days for the pod, which also contained cesium-137. Eventually, the tiny capsule was found on the side of the road in the outback. Nobody got hurt.

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