Stolen Radioactive Gauge Recovered

Press Release

Maryland Department of the Environment
Media Contact:
Jay Apperson

Stolen Radioactive Gauge Recovered Device Intact, Shows No Signs of Tampering or Leak of Radioactive Material

BALTIMORE, MD (December 15, 2010) – A gauge containing a small amount of radioactive material that was reported stolen earlier this month from a job site at Fort George G. Meade has been recovered.

The gauge was recovered at the job site Dec. 10. The device was found in its locked transport container and showed no signs of having been tampered with or having released radioactive material, the licensee and owner of the device reported.

The Maryland Department of the Environment issued a public alert after the device, a Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge, was reported stolen from a temporary job site at Fort Meade. The theft was also reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Fort Meade police were notified. The device was reported to have been found beneath construction equipment at the temporary job site.

The device is used at construction sites to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete, and other aggregates. The gauge is not a hazard to the public as long as the radioactive material remains locked in the device. An extendable rod that contains radioactive material was locked in the shielded position and the device was locked in its case when last seen before it was reported stolen, according to the device’s user. The radioactive material it contains is Cesium-137 on its extendable rod and Americium-241 encased inside the device. A padlock is normally used to secure the Cesium-137 source in its shielded position when not in use. The source was padlocked in its shielded position when the device was recovered. GeoConcepts Engineering is the owner and licensee of the gauge.