(FiveNation.com)- Authorities in Pennsylvania seek information about a gadget used in construction containing radioactive material.
The device, a portable nuclear gauge, is used in construction to assess the qualities of building and road-bed materials, according to a news statement from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. People in the area might be exposed to hazardous radiation if the apparatus is broken.
The nuclear density gauge, which belonged to KAKS and Company LLC, was kept safe inside a car. Then the car was stolen. Authorities later discovered the automobile, but the gauge was missing.
Investigators are saying that whoever stole the vehicle may have dumped the gauge on the side of the road. Being struck by a car could be very dangerous.
Authorities are now urging members of the public to come forward with any information they may have on the missing equipment.
David Allard, head of the Bureau of Radiation Protection, asks anyone with knowledge regarding the missing nuclear gauge to contact local police or the Department of Environmental Protection. He said that as long as the equipment isn’t tampered with or broken, there’s no danger to the public.
According to a press release, if the device’s seal is broken, there is a risk of damage to the radioactive source, and contamination to a person and the environment could be potentially dangerous.
The nuclear density gauge is a Troxler Model 3440, serial number 31109. The gauge is yellow and roughly the size of a shoebox, with an electronic keypad and a metal rod protruding from the top surface.
The Troxler gauge contains approximately eight millicuries of Cesium-137 and 40 millicuries of Americium-241. The radioactive material is in a double encapsulated source capsule within the device to protect its integrity, the DEP said in a release.
In 2016, someone stole a similar gauge in West Virginia.
And in March of this year, a gauge was stolen from a van in Ireland.
One wonders if there is a specific reason these gauges filled with radioactive material are targeted for theft.