Radioactive gauge stolen in Little Rock

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A gauge with radioactive material has been stolen from a private residential driveway in West Memphis, Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

The gauge contains shielding and is not dangerous if it remains intact. However, the gauge could present a radiation hazard if it was damaged and the radioactive sources were exposed and/or removed from their sealed container, according to the ADH.

The gauge transport case is about the size and shape of a storage trunk and is made of hard yellow plastic material with handles on each side and on top.  The gauge is also yellow with a rectangular base and a foot-long handle on top. Both are clearly labeled as radioactive materials.  The gauge and transport case weighs about 85 to 95 pounds, according to the ADH.

The gauge contains about eight millicuries Cesium-137 and 40 millicuries Americium-241. The gauge is used to take moisture and density measurements by projecting radiation from the two radioactive sources into the ground and then displaying the amount of radiation reflected back to the gauge.  The gauge is a Troxler Electronic Laboratories Model 3411-B, Serial Number 4794.

Although the gauge poses a potential public health risk, it does not contain enough radioactive material to be used for any explosive device, according to the ADH. 

Anyone finding this gauge should immediately report it to the nearest police authority by calling 1-800-633-1735 or 501-661-2173 and ask for the Radiation Staff Duty Officer.

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