Caesium-137 radioactive form of caesium

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Recently, a Caesium-137 capsule lost in transit was discovered in Western Australia using specialised detection equipment that detected radiation.

What is Caesium? 

  • Caesium is a soft, flexible, silvery-white metal.
  • It becomes liquid near room temperature, but easily bonds with chlorides to create a crystalline powder.

Key facts about the Caesium-137

  • It is the most common radioactive form of caesium. 
  • It is produced by nuclear fission which is also one of the byproducts of nuclear fission processes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons testing.
  • This radioactive metal has a half-life of 30.05 years – meaning in three decades it will have half of its original activity.
  • Caesium-137 can cause serious illness when touched, leading to burns and acute radiation sickness. 
  • External exposure can increase the risk of cancer because of the presence of high-energy beta-gamma radiation. Prolonged exposure can even cause death.
  • Internal exposure to it through ingestion or inhalation allows the radioactive material to be distributed in the soft tissues, especially muscle tissue, which increases cancer risk.


Q1)What is the nuclear fission reaction?

Nuclear fission is the process of breaking large atomic nuclei into smaller atomic nuclei to release a large amount of energy.

Source: Radioactive capsule lost – and found – in Australia: Here’s what happened