TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Monday's downpour has temporarily stopped the excavation of radioactive soil at the Batan Indah housing complex in Serpong, South Tangerang. The radiation levels, although keep on declining, were still deemed to be over the average safe levels.
“We must also pay attention to our personnel’s safety,” said Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) spokesperson Indra Gunawan on Monday afternoon.
The dredged earth from the location is kept in drums before being sent off to the Radiation Waste Technology Center laboratory overseen by the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN). The decontamination efforts will continue until radiation levels drop to 0.02-0.05 microsievert per hour.
“The latest check we conducted on Saturday measured [radiation levels] at 98.9 microsieverts per hour,” said Batan spokesperson Heru Umbara on Saturday, February 15. This effectively makes it 2,000 times over the accepted limit.
The source of radiation found to be in the 10x10 section within the complex is Caesium-137, which is frequently used for industrial purposes. However, Heru assured that locals should not panic as the situation was handled by authorities competent in the field.
“Exposure to this radiation will not endanger the residents if managed properly," Heru said.