Press Release

COLUMBIA, MD (March 18, 2002) – 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 being stolen from a construction trailer in Howard County over the weekend.

A Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge, serial number 22798, was taken from a construction site located at 6100 Dobbin Road in Columbia sometime between late Friday afternoon (March 15) and 9 a.m. Saturday (March 16).

The 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 the Howard County Police Duty Officer at (410) 313-3200; Chris Smith of Professional Services Industries at 1-800-486-6922; or the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Radiological Health Program at (410) 243-8700.

A Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gaugeA Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge 

Above, the Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge in and out of its case.

Editor’s Note

To get a better image of the missing device go to