Berlin lab seeks return of nuclear gauge in stolen car, warns against tampering

Berlin lab seeks return of nuclear gauge in stolen car, warns against tampering

reporter photo

A materials testing lab in Berlin is asking residents to be on the lookout for a Honda Accord containing a nuclear density gauge stolen Sunday in Tolland.

Shawn Chaudhary, director of strategy and business development for Tri State Materials Testing Lab, said the gauge does not emit radioactivity unless tampered with. It was in a locked yellow storage case marked “Troxier”  inside the trunk of the technician’s Accord when the car was stolen early Sunday morning.

The white 2009 Accord has a Connecticut license plate –  “244-RJL.”

If opened, a mild amount of radiation could be emitted from the gauge.

“Unless someone cuts the lock open they won't be able to free the gauge,” Chaudhary said.“Due to the radioactive source in the gauge, it is imperative that no one handles the device outside of the storage case.”

A press release from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they have been informed of the theft and requested that anyone who comes in contact with the device call their 24-hour operations hotline at 301-816-5100.

“The gauge, which is stored in a yellow protective transportation case, consists of a shielding container with a plunger-type handle protruding from the top. The handle is used to manually extend and then retract the radioactive sources from the shielded position,” the release said.

As long as the sources remain shielded the device poses no hazard, the release added. “However, any attempt to tamper with the radioactive sources in the device could subject a person to radiation exposure.

Handling of the unshielded sources outside the container would carry a risk of potentially dangerous radiation exposure.”

The company, located at 60 Woodlawn Road, is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the gauge.
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