CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Valley Quarries is offering a reward for information leading to the return of a stolen nuclear density gauge, a device that contains a small amount of radioactive material.
The device, used to test the compaction of roadway materials, like newly applied asphalt, was stolen between 10 p.m. Sunday and 5:30 a.m. Monday, Valley Quarries spokesman Bill Pukmel said. The instrument was in a company pickup truck parked at an employee's home in the Fayetteville, Pa., area, he said.
"It's slightly radioactive and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asked us to get the word out," Pukmel said. If someone should find the nuclear density gauge, they should call Pennsylvania State Police and cordon off an area of about 15 feet around it, he said.
"The radioactivity in it is enough to wipe out an entire ant colony," he joked.
The gauges contain a small amount of a radioactive material such as cesium, usually about 10 millicuries, according to a description on a Washington State Department of Transportation Web site. A curie is a measurement of radioactivity equivalent to 1 gram of radium, so 10 millicuries would be about 1 percent of a curie.