Missing radioactive gauge recovered at Fort Meade

Item found at job site shows no signs of tampering

December 15, 2010|By Baltimore Sun staff

A contractor has recovered a gauge containing a small amount of radioactive material, after reporting the device stolen earlier this month from a work site at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.

The Maryland Department of the Environment says the gauge was found Dec. 10 at the job site where it went missing. The contractor that owns the device told the department that it was in a locked transport container and showed no signs of having been tampered with or having released radioactive material.

The Troxler Model 3430 surface moisture density gauge, serial No. 37672, had last been seen Nov. 29 at the temporary job site and was reported stolen by GeoConcepts Engineering — along with other contracting equipment — later that week, according to environment officials. The theft was also reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Fort Meade police were notified.

The device is used to measure moisture and compaction in soils, concrete and other aggregates. The radioactive material it contains is Cesium-137 on an extendable rod and Americium-241 encased inside the device.

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