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Radioactive cylinder disappears from power plant near popular tourist area sparking panic
Featured Image Credit: THAILAND OFFICE OF ATOMS FOR PEACE / Alamy/Thanapol Kuptanisakorn

Radioactive cylinder disappears from power plant near popular tourist area sparking panic

A power plant in Thailand is missing a cylinder containing radioactive material and they'd really like to have it back

People in Thailand have been warned that public health is at risk following an as-yet unsuccessful search for a metal cylinder containing radioactive material.

The cylinder was noticed to have disappeared from a power plant in Thailand's Prachinburi province on Friday (10 March) and despite a widespread search authorities have thus far been unable to locate the missing cylinder.

Officials have confirmed that the search has included junk shops, scrap metal yards and second hand shops on the off chance that somebody who has acquired it has sold it on.

The cylinder in question is 12 inches (30cm) long, weighs 55 pounds (25kg) and is packed full of of the radioactive substance Caesium-137.

Physically the material acts in a similar manner to salt, though you'd definitely want to avoid getting this stuff on your food as exposure can lead to a higher risk of cancer while prolonged direct contact can cause skin rashes, hair loss, canker sores, fatigue and vomiting.

This is what the metal cylinder filled with radioactive material looks like.
The Prachinburi Provincial Public Relations Office

The radioactive material went missing from a steam power plant where it's used in devices which measure the humidity or velocity of liquids.

At the power plant, which is located 60 miles east of the Thai capital of Bangkok, the cylinder had been connected to a 56 foot (17 meter) tall silo where it helped measure ash.

Kittiphan Chitpentham, a spokesperson for Thailand's National Power Supply Public Co, said they would be offering a cash reward of 50,000 baht ($1,445) to anyone who had information which would help them track it down.

While the metal cylinder containing the radioactive material was discovered to have been missing on Friday (10 March) officials have admitted that they do not know when exactly it disappeared.

Officials have said it could have been missing for a few weeks, and they don't know if it has vanished by accident or whether someone had taken it on purpose.

The contents of the missing cylinder are radioactive and harmful to humans.
Jonathan Larsen/Diadem Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Prachinburi province is home to around half a million people and is one of Thailand's most popular tourist hotspots, so while holidaymakers may be hoping to see the sights and quaff some of the local tipple they should be aware that there's a missing chunk of radioactive material on the loose.

The area is home to a number of national parks which attract large numbers of visitors both from abroad and from the nearby Bangkok where over 10 million people live.

In addition to the search teams combing the province and the places they think a metal cylinder might have been dumped, there are drones sweeping the area as part of search efforts.

Topics: World News, News, Thailand, Health