Get to know Cesium-137 Dangers, Persistence and Contamination

that may affect the environment and humans...

Get to know

"Cesium-137" (Cesium-137),

danger, persistence, questions that Thai government agencies do not yet have a clear answer.

Including lessons that should be adapted from the point of view of

"Prof. Dr. Siwat Pongpiachan"

Director of the Disaster Prevention and Management Research and Development Center

Faculty of Social and Environmental Development

National Institute of Development Administration

through conversation with

"Thairath Online News Special Team"

"Prof. Dr. Siwat Pongpiachan" Director of Research and Development Center for Disaster Prevention and Management

Faculty of Social and Environmental Development

National Institute of Development Administration

What is Cesium-137 :

Cesium-137 or Cs-137

is a radioactive element.

That has emitted alpha, beta and gamma radiation, which is called nuclear fission and when the radiation is released as energy

Its mass will halve, known as

Half-Life, which will take an average of 30.17 years.

What is Half-Life :

“Let me give you an example to make it easier to understand. The half-life of Cs-137 means assuming that Cs-137 has a mass of 10 out of 10 when radiated.

Until the mass is reduced by half to 5, it will take about 30.17 years, and from 5 reduced to 2.5, it will take another 30.17 years, a total of over 60 years, and from 2.5, reduced to 1.25, it will take another time. 30.17 years, which adds up to over 90 years, is that right? And this is the simplest definition of Half-Life."

Dangers of Cs-137 :

“To put it this way, the danger of Cs-137 is related to its initial mass concentration

. What if the initial mass concentration of Cs-137 was not 10 but 1000? And imagine what could have happened?”

Therefore, the important question in the incident of Cs-137 disappearing from the power plant in Si Maha Phot District, Prachinburi Province is number 1. Can

anyone tell me if Cs-137 is the problem?

What is the initial concentration before it disappears?

Question 2. What is the concentration in the melted Cs-137?

Question 3. What is the concentration level in the red metal scrap?

And question

4. The last question is what is the concentration that is released into the air as a result of the melting of the Cs-137 ingot?

and slabs of objects claimed to have been partially forged

Where are the rest now?

and what mass is concentrated in it?

However, to the first question, what is the initial concentration of


before it disappears?

should be able to answer this very well, but with the remaining 3 questions

Especially question 4., which will affect the people the most.

There seems to be no clear answer yet.

from government agencies that come to solve problems in this matter in any way

“At the same time, what is worth noting after the latest announcement from the Thai government is all the incidents.

Happening under a 100% closed system? Because the melting of the Cs-137 ingot takes place at temperatures over 1,000 degrees Celsius, so theoretically, the melted portion should have evaporated into the air.

This is the part that worries me the most.”

How far can the vaporized Cs-137 spread through the air?

“This question is difficult to answer.

Let's just say like this.

when being forged at such a high temperature


When the air mass is hot, it will already lift itself up.

The part will go that far.

It depends on many factors such as 1. What is the air velocity above the chimney at that time? 2. Depends on Particle Size Distribution or particle size distribution.

that will be dispersed differently according to the size of the particles”

Dangers of Cs-137 in the air:

“Let me explain simply.

In this way, Cs-137 suspended in air can be washed by rain, snow, or hail (Wet Deposition) and by Dry Deposition (Dry Deposition).

The worrying thing, however, is when it's pulled down to the ground.

It takes a very long time for it to decompose according to the Half-Life principle.

Therefore, there is a high risk of it slipping into the food chain.

Until eventually it might enter the human body.

Through eating meat or various agricultural products.”

Cs-137 against PM 2.5 :

“If asked if Cs-137 can get into PM 2.5 or not, the answer is yes!

Why not? In the past, I've always emphasized that carcinogens, mutagenic substances, and heavy metals can always get into PM 2.5, but I rarely talk about radioactive substances because of cases like that that happened in Prachinburi province.

It doesn't happen often in Thailand only.”

Read more: PM 2.5 time bomb, breath that disappears with dust

The dangers of Cs-137 in Prachin Buri Province :

Let me answer like this.

If referring to what the Thai government has announced until now (March 21, 2023), which indicates that the concentration of Cs-137 in Prachin Buri Province

Less than the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, about 50 million times, because if I'm not mistaken

The Thai government announced that it should be only about 0.0005 grams, which is very small, while the Chernobyl incident, the concentration level of Cs-137, was 27 kilograms, which can be said to be quite a different story.

In addition, when compared, in the case of Chernobyl, it is considered an

"accident" (Accident)

, thus causing a high level of severity of the event.

But in the case that happened in Prachin Buri Province, it was still only the level of

"incident" (Incident),

so the scope of the level of violence was not very high either.

Levels of radioactivity that are dangerous to humans:

“In the United States

There is a prerequisite that

For persons working with radioactivity

The average level of radioactivity in the body must not exceed

100 Millirem (mrem) per year


The average radioactive level in the body must not exceed

4 mrem per year.

The average for radioactive contamination in drinking water shall not exceed 200 picocurie per liter (pCi/L).”

Lesson Cs-137 Prachinburi Province :

“What we need to learn from this incident is the first issue.

How did it fall off?

And who took it out, and who exactly was responsible for this incident?

All relevant government agencies must answer this question from society.

because if you still can't answer these questions

Well, don't dream of having a nuclear power plant, because only Cs-137 can still escape.

Do you still dream of having a nuclear power plant?”

In addition, what I would like to end up with and would like Thai government agencies to use the lessons from this story to apply in other matters is

As far as personal information has been obtained

It is known that industrial waste contaminated with radioactive substances from foreign countries has been smuggled into containers.

to be imported into Thailand for a certain amount

which if this information is true

It must be considered more dangerous to the people than the Cs-137 incident in Prachinburi province.

Therefore, I would like to call on the Thai government to speed up the investigation of this information as soon as possible in order not to cause harm to the public in the future.

Thai Rath online news team reports

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