Thursday, May 16, 2013

Whew! PADEP's missing nuclear gauge has been found

Popular Mechanics
All right, we may have made a bit more of it than warranted (PADEP: Anybody see a nuclear gauge laying around?) but feel free to step out of your bomb shelter. The Pennsylvania DEP has found its missing nuclear gauge.

Other than a bit of embarrassment for the agency and the contractor who was transporting the gauge, there has been no harm, the DEP says. No evidence of tampering with the device. Everything back in place. Tucked in. Safe and sound.

In a four-paragraph news release today, the DEP says the device was found by a citizen along I-81 in West Virginia after it apparently fell off the contractor's truck. No mention of whether the employee responsible for securing the device is exploring new career options.

Here's the DEP's latest (and we assume final) comment::

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced today that it recovered in Maryland the missing nuclear gauge a Franklin County company lost in West Virginia on May 3. The device has not been tampered with or damaged.

“We are relieved that the nuclear gauge has been recovered and that no radioactive materials were released,” DEP Bureau of Radiation Protection Director David Allard said. “The agency thanks the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, West Virginia officials, the public and the citizen who discovered the gauge along the road for the combined effort to find it.”

The nuclear gauge has been returned to Valley Quarries Inc. of Chambersburg, Franklin County, which lost the Troxler Model 3430 gauge when it fell off the company’s truck on I-81 in West Virginia between mile markers 17 and 24.

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

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