BALTIMORE, MD (April 12, 2004) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued a public alert to report that a moisture density gauge containing nuclear material is missing after an employee of a Prince George’s County business left the company unannounced.
A Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge, serial number 023850, was reported missing to MDE April 8 after Professional Inspection and Testing Services (PITS), Inc., based in Temple Hills, contacted the Nuclear Regulatory Commission April 2. The gauge and a PITS vehicle were reported to the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office as stolen that day after being used at a northwest Washington, D.C. job site. The vehicle was found at an impound lot in Tuxedo (Md.), but the employee and gauge have not been located.
The missing device contains small amounts of radioactive material and is used to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete, asphalt and other aggregates. The yellow device is reported to be in the locked position. Its yellow transport case is also reported to be locked. The device is not a hazard to the public as long as the radioactive material remains locked in the device.
The gauge is yellow in color and approximately 3’x 2’ x 2’. [See pictures below.] 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 in use.
Anyone finding this device should report it immediately to MDE’s Radiological Health Program at (866) MDE-GOTO, that’s (866) 633-4686 or PITS Vice President Rick Curtis at (301) 702-2610.
Above, is the Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge in and out of its case.
To get a better image of the missing device go to www.troxlerlabs.com.