DOST warns moisture density gauge with radioactive materials is missing

A Troxler 3440 moisture density gauge equipment which has radioactive materials has gone missing a month ago, the Department of Science and  Technology (DOST) said Monday night (September 17).

The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) has warned of its radioactive contents, saying those who may have the equipment should not tamper with in any way, much less open it.

A statement from the PNRI said the density gauge “was reported missing a month ago at around the area of the MWSS Compound storage facility in Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Here’s the complete statement of the PNRI: 

A moisture density gauge equipment containing radioactive materials was reported missing a month ago at around the area of the MWSS Compound storage facility in Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan.

According to the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI), the equipment was reported missing by a licensee, which has reported the incident to the Norzagaray municipal police station.

DOST-PNRI is the the agency mandated to license and regulate the use of radioactive materials in industry, medicine, academe, research, and other applications.

DOST-PNRI has then notified the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Office
of Civil Defense (OCD) of the incident and has requested for assistance in the search
and recovery of the missing equipment.

The missing equipment is a TROXLER 3440 moisture density gauge, which is used by the PNRI licensee, an industrial firm, for testing of soil, asphalt and concrete materials. The equipment weighs around 41 kg, which is contained in a transport “orange-colored” box measuring 30 x 14 x 17 inches. The gauge looks similar to the photos below:

Density GaugeThe public is advised on the following:

— The moisture density gauge is fully shielded, and is safe as it is. However, the equipment is potentially dangerous as it contains radioactive materials that emit high levels of ionizing radiation. If found, do not open the unit or tamper with its housing to avoid exposure to harmful radiation rays.

— Attached to the transport containment and on the equipment is the radiation symbol that looks like below. If you see the radiation symbol, keep away from the equipment.

Radioactive Sign

— Those who may have seen, touched or have been near to the equipment should immediately report to the nearest police station, and contact the DOST-PNRI as soon as possible through:

Mr. Teofilo V. Leonin Jr.
Chief, Nuclear Regulatory Division
Telephone: 9208796, 9296011 Local 244
Mobile: (0915) 1946085

— Scrap metal dealers and buyers of used metal items are asked to be on alert.

— Medical practitioners are advised of the possibility that patients may appear with symptoms of radiation exposure.

Further information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. (from DOST-PNRI)

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