The governor of Thailand’s eastern province of Prachin Buri has ordered the immediate closure of a foundry and declared the plant off-limits to unauthorised personnel after radiation from caesium-137 was detected among other metallic scrap.
The finding of the radioactive material, sealed in a steel cylinder, ended the frantic search, which began on March 10th when it was discovered that it was missing from a steam power plant in Si Maha Phot district.
Officials from the Office of Atoms for Peace, the provincial administration and the industrial works office searched two foundries in Kabin Buri industrial park yesterday (Sunday).
The officials detected radiation emitting from metal scrap in the yard of a large foundry, which operates eight melting furnaces.
At first the officials were not sure that the radiation was from caesium-137. They made further checks until they were confident that it was from the unit that went missing from the steam power plant and filed a report with the governor.
The officials admitted, however, that the cylinder in question was among a huge pile of metal scrap, making it difficult for them to get to it quickly.
Governor Narong Nakornjinda has scheduled a press conference at 11am today to report on the progress of the recovery of the caesium-137.