December 11, 2010
. Scientists have developed a nuclear method that might just save religious treasures from pesky insects, bacteria and fungus forever. Museums and churches in Eastern Europe are already adopting a radiation method that exterminates bugs without smelly and harmful sprays.
This parish priest says he's resorting to nuclear techniques to save these religious icons from any other creepy crawleys like termites, which can make damaging holes like these.
Parish Priest, Izvaorele, Romania
“Because the icons are thick objects, the injected solution did not enter deeply enough from the surface and there was no effect. That's why I had to consider a better solution.”
This technique involves storing the radiation in a six-meter deep water pool at a processing center in Bucharest. When activated, this radioactive source emits powerful gamma rays that can kill insects, bacteria and fungus.
IRASM Radiation Processing Center, Bucharest
“One of the major applications of radiation processing is radiation sterilisation and by extension with radiaton we can inactivate any kind of bacteria, fungi or other biological organisms.”
The Aman Museum in Bucharest also opted for the radiation treatment when it was invaded by unwanted guests.
Head of Conservation, Municipal Museum, Bucharest
“Any other method could be much more expensive and we don't have opportunities to have all this very special equipment. Also it was much more dangerous for our health.”
When the works of art deemed contaminant-free, they are returned and carefully restored... and the insects aren't supposed to come back.