Nuclear gauge falls off truck on I-81

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and West Virginia state officials are searching for a missing portable gauge containing sealed sources of radioactive material that was lost in West Virginia on May 3, and are asking anyone with information on the missing gauge to report it to DEP.

“It is critical for anyone who has information about the lost nuclear gauge to contact the Pennsylvania DEP, Nuclear Regulatory Commission or a local law enforcement agency immediately,” DEP Bureau of Radiation Protection Director David Allard said. “As long as the device is not tampered with or damaged, it presents no hazard to public safety.”

The gauge, a Troxler Model 3430 with serial number 32506, was lost when it apparently fell off the back of a truck on I-81 between the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border between mile markers 17 and 24. The bright yellow gauge is commonly used in road construction for taking measurements in the ground, and it is about the size of a shoe box, with electronic controls and a metal rod extending from the top surface.

The gauge is normally stored in a locked yellow transportation container when not in use at construction sites, but it apparently fell out of the container on the back of the company’s truck during transport.

Valley Quarries Inc. of Chambersburg, Franklin County, is licensed by DEP to possess and use the gauge. Staff from the company was using it in West Virginia at the time it was lost.

Anyone who finds the gauge should leave it alone and report the location to DEP during normal working hours at 717-787-2480 or 412-442-4227. After normal working hours and on weekends, call 1-800-541-2050 or 412-442-4000. In the event of an emergency, dial 911. A trained individual will be dispatched immediately to recover the gauge.

The company is offering a reward for information leading to its return.

To view a picture of the missing gauge, visit DEP’s website at www.dep.state.pa.us and click on “Radiation Protection.”