BETHESDA, MD (April 22, 2003) -- Officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) are searching for a moisture density gauge that was stolen earlier today from a trailer on a construction site located at 7303 River Road in Bethesda.
The device contains small amounts of radioactive material and is used to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete, asphalt and other aggregates. The gauge, a CPN International model MC1DR, contains 10 millicuries of Cesium-137 and 50 millicuries of Americium-241. It is not a threat to public health and safety as long as the source remains locked in the shielded position inside the device. The device is owned by Engineering Consulting Services (ECS) located in the 5100 block of Pegasus Court in Frederick. ECS reports that the device was secured with a lock to prevent inadvertent exposure of the radioactive source.
The gauge was stored in a transport case that measures 17 inches by 30 inches by 14 inches and weighs about 40 pounds. A label affixed to the case contains a radiation symbol and the words, “CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL.”
Anyone with information about the theft of the device or its whereabouts should call Montgomery County Police at (301) 652-9200, Engineering Consulting Services at (301) 668-4304 or MDE’s Radiological Health Program at (800) 633-6101, ext. 3300.