Another loss of radioactive material in Thailand highlights the need for effective risk communication
Keywords:Missing caesium-137, Radiation safety, Radioactive materials, Risk communication, Safety and security, Thailand
On March 10th 2023, a cylinder containing caesium-137 was found missing from a power plant near Bangkok, Thailand. This generated lots of fear and anxiety, fuelled by social media and inadequate statements from the authorities. Later it was discovered in a foundry, compressed and partially melted. It is clear from this incident that risk communication was inadequate.
Two case studies from Southeast Asia, the 2004 Asian Earthquake and Tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the significance of effective risk communication in crisis management and public policy.
This incident in Thailand serves as a "wake-up call" for other countries in Southeast Asia and beyond, urging them to ensure the safe management of radioactive materials as well as to pay attention to their own investments in creating efficient risk communication frameworks to deal with future disasters.
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