BALTIMORE, MD (December 3, 2010) – The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued a public alert that a gauge containing a small amount of radioactive material has been reported to have been stolen from a job site at Fort George G. Meade.
A Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge, serial number 37672, was last seen at a temporary job site at Fort Meade. The owner and licensee of the device reported to MDE Thursday, Dec. 2, that the device, along with other contracting equipment, had been stolen.
The gauge was last seen during an inventory taken Nov. 29. The theft was noted by a company employee about 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2. The theft was also reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Fort Meade police were notified.
The missing device is used at construction sites to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete, and other aggregates. The device 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, according to the device’s user.
The gauge is yellow in color, and its case is approximately 30 inches by 14 inches by 17 inches in size. (See pictures below.) 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.
Anyone finding the device should report it immediately to MDE’s Radiological Health Program at 866-MDE-GOTO (866-633-4686), Police at 911, or the licensee and owner, GeoConcepts Engineering, at 703-726-8030.
Above, Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture gauge, in and out of its case.