BALTIMORE, MD (September 21, 2000) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has received a report that a moisture density gauge containing nuclear material is missing from a contractor in Adamstown, Frederick County. Engineering consultants D. W. Kozera, Inc. of Baltimore, MD reported that the device apparently fell from the back of a pickup truck as it was leaving a construction site in Adamstown late yesterday afternoon.
The gauge is believed to have been lost in the immediate areas around New Design Road and Union Ridge Road, otherwise designated as the Green Hill Manor residential subdivision in Frederick County.
The portable device is used to measure the moisture and density of soil. The gauge, a Troxler 3430, serial number 25607, is yellow in color and approximately 3’x 2’ x 2’. The radioactive material it contains is Cesium-137 on an 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 is use, but the lock was not secured when the device was lost, although the Cesium was shielded. The radioactive material is not a threat to the public as long as it remains intact within its shielded compartment.
Anyone finding this device should report it immediately to Deputy Jody Maybush at the Frederick County Sheriff Office (301) 694-1046; Andrew Zmoda of D.W. Kozera, Inc. at (410) 823-1060; or the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Radiological Health Program at (410) 243-8700.