Database of radiological incidents and related events--Johnston's Archive

Samut Prakarn orphaned source, 2000

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last modified 19 June 2004

Date: 24 January-20 February 2000

Location: Samut Prakarn, Thailand

Type of event: lost source


A 425-curie cobalt-60 teletharapy source was sold in its housing as scrap metal to an individual in Samut Prakarn on 24 January and was temporarily stored at a residence. Several individuals further attempted to dismantle the housing unsuccessfully on 1 February, after which they took it to a junkyard. During transport, one indivual had the housing next to his leg. The source fell out at the junkyard during disassembly, causing exposure to workers. Two individuals started becoming ill that day. More workers became ill in mid-February and sought medical treatment, where physicians recognized radiation sickness and notified authorities. On 20 February the source was found and secured. Three individuals received doses of 200 rems, but two of them had severe radiation burns from localized exposures; another individual received 100 rems. Three individuals died: two junkyard employees (on 9 March and 18 March) and the husband of the junkyard owner (on 24 March).

Consequences: 3 fatalities, 7 injuries.


© 2004 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 19 June 2004.
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