NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Environmental officials in Pennsylvania say a portable nuclear gauge that contains sealed sources of radioactive material is missing from a vehicle that was stolen in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday said the device should not be handled directly and anyone who finds it should maintain distance and limit their time around the device.
The device was inside a vehicle when it was stolen in Philadelphia, officials said. The vehicle was later recovered, but the gauge was missing and officials believe that it may have been discarded.
Officials say the missing nuclear gauge belongs to a construction inspection and testing company in Montgomery County. The device is used to "evaluate the properties of building and road-bed materials at construction sites throughout the commonwealth."
"It is critical for anyone who has information about the lost nuclear gauge to contact authorities or DEP," 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."
Officials say the radioactive material contained within the gauge is believed to be in a safe, shielded position, but they fear it may have been damaged when the vehicle was stolen.