Serpong – BRIN Public Relations. Cultural heritage is heritage of a culture that has historical, scientific, technological, and artistic values ​​that are important to be maintained and preserved. One of the methods for conducting research and maintenance while keeping the integrity and authenticity of a cultural heritage object is to utilize radiation technology and nuclear engineering.

Deputy Director of the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT), Thawatchai Onjun in his speech welcomed this activity and hoped that researchers can share their knowledge for the benefit of cultural heritage, “on this occasion let us share knowledge, information and promote the use of nuclear technology for the preservation of cultural heritage,” said Thawatchai Onjun.

Researcher at the Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN) of the National Research and Innovation Agency, Bharoto, explained that Indonesia currently has and utilizes radiation technology in conducting research, including for research on the cultural heritage of the archipelago. “Research reactors are used for various research purposes, some of the instruments of which are in the Neutron Scattering Laboratory, and some others are in the neutron radiography facility, while the  neutron source is from the G.A. Siwabessy reactor,” explained Bharoto.

Bharoto also invited researchers to work together and take advantage of the facilities owned by BRIN. “We want to use the neutron facility for archaeological research. Apart from having a neutron scattering facility, we also have Gamma & X-Ray Computed Tomography and Nuclear Analitycal Techniques (NAT). If you are interested in using this facility, you can contact us directly,” said Bharoto in his presentation under the title Archaeological Research using Nuclear Research Reactors in Indonesia.

“We hope to collaborate with researchers, and we also have plans to invite researchers to join our research groups in doctoral programs or research professors,” he added.

Nuclear Engineering Assists Archaeologists in Restoration and Conservation of ASEAN Cultural Heritage

The Manager of the Center of Nuclear Technology Research and Development – TINT, Kanokporn Boonsirichai revealed that his center also utilizes nuclear technology for the preservation of cultural heritage. “Thailand, especially TINT has used several nuclear techniques to preserve our cultural heritage. The nuclear techniques that we use are such as Radiocarbon to determine the age of ancient fossils and Non-Destructive Test to disclose the technology used in the past or to disclose the hidden history of an artifact,” he said.

“The Thai Institute of Nuclear Technology is also preparing to use the Particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) technique, which is an elemental analysis technique using a high-energy particle beam as a probe and characteristic X-rays of elements as an analytical signal,” added Kanokporn.

X-ray structural analyst, from the Department of Chemistry, University of Antwerp, Belgium, Koen Janssens, said that Belgium used the X-Ray technique to analyze ancient paintings. With the X-Ray radiography method, old, outdated paintings can deconstruct complex paint assemblies on a painting horizontally and vertically and then provide an analysis of the production process of the work in terms of painting techniques and the painting style of the painter.

This technique is also used by the Louvre Museum in France. They restore outdated ancient paintings with X-Ray, X-Ray Imaging, Radiography, Emissiography and Tomography techniques. C2RMF uses Tomography to perform structural reconstruction, restoration of certain parts, fabrication or size of an object.

The discussion on use of nuclear technology for preserving cultural heritage was held at a virtual symposium under the theme “Application of Radiation Techniques for Cultural Heritage Research”, on 22-23 March 2022, in Bangkok, Thailand. This symposium was organized by the ASEAN Large Nuclear and Synchrotron Facility Network (LNSN). The event was supposed to take place in 2019, but was delayed for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

LNSN is a forum for the nuclear community to share information and promote each other regarding human resources or nuclear technology developed in their country. The purpose of this symposium is among others to serve as a forum for researchers at the ASEAN regional level to obtain facilities for cultural heritage research purposes, in addition to strengthening technical collaboration and increasing research contributions to cultural heritage, especially in ASEAN region. (yrt, SET/ed:pur)