Theft of a gauge containing a radioactive source

Date released: March 01, 2022

The EPA was informed on 1st March 2022 that a device called a Troxler Nuclear Moisture Density Gauge, containing a radioactive source, was stolen from a van at a property in Drogheda overnight 28th February/1st March.

The gauge, used for determining the density of compacted material such as tarmacadam on roads, was stored in a locked yellow case. The case has the trefoil radiation symbol on it, to bring attention to the fact that it contains a radiation source.

Photo of Troxler Nuclear Moisture Density Gauge

There is a risk that individuals could be harmed by exposure to radiation if they come into contact with this item, particularly if the case is opened and the equipment is activated.

The annual dose limit a member of the public can receive is set in the legislation as 1 millisievert (1 mSv/y). If the box is closed and remains secure, a person in close proximity, (less than 1 metre) to the stolen item would exceed the annual dose limit in approximately 10 hours. However, if a person opens the box and attempts to access the radiation source, they could potentially exceed the annual dose limit in approximately 12 minutes.

If a member of the public comes across the box or has any information that may lead to its recovery, they are advised not to interfere with it, maintain a safe distance and to immediately contact the Gardai at Drogheda on 041-9874200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station, or the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement (01 268 0100).