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Portable nuclear device missing from car stolen in Pennsylvania

Authorities in Pennsylvania are searching for a missing portable nuclear device containing radioactive material belonging to a local construction inspection company.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection says the device, portable nuclear meter, commonly used at construction sites to “evaluate the properties of building materials and pavements.” But if mishandled or damaged, people can get radioactive.

A Troxler Model 3340 handheld nuclear meter.
A Troxler Model 3340 handheld nuclear meter.Troxler Electronics Laboratories, Inc. through Penn. Department of Environmental Protection

Nuclear density meters belonging to KAKS and Company LLC were safely stored inside a vehicle reported stolen in Philadelphia, the agency said in a statement. Press Release Friday. When the vehicle was found, the gauge was missing.

According to the agency, if the device’s sealed radioactive source is severely damaged or impacted, “the radioactive source has the potential to be damaged and spread contamination.”

David Allard, director of the Department of Radiation Protection, said: “It is important for anyone with information about a lost nuclear measuring device to contact local authorities or the DEP.” “As long as the device is not tampered with or damaged, it will not pose a danger to public safety.”

But environmental authorities said they believe the gauges “may have been damaged following the vehicle theft.” That’s why officials urge anyone who comes across the device not to be disposed of and contact the authorities to allow a trained individual to restore it.

Exposure to low levels of radiation may not lead to an immediate health risk, but may slightly increase the risk of cancer throughout life. according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Short-term high-level radiation exposure can cause nausea and vomiting.

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