Search for radioactive “mystery” box in Limestone County
LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A bright yellow box marked “Radioactive” has caused panic in north Alabama.
The box was found Tuesday afternoon on Mooresville Road in Tanner. The driver stopped to check it out, thinking he was in luck at a free Yeti cooler, but decided to pass on the opportunity after reading the warning.
The man told News 19 he immediately went to a Huntsville hospital to be checked out as a precaution.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Alabama Radiation Control (ARC) received information about a building meter containing radioactive material that “does not appear to be owned.”
ADPH confirmed that the box contained two radioactive sources.
News 19 confirmed with an employee of a nearby business that after the first driver left, an elderly man in a white minivan stopped, picked up the mystery box and placed it on his bed. truck and drove off.
On Wednesday morning, the employee said two men came to the company, who captured the whole thing on a surveillance camera and asked about the yellow radioactive box.
Now, to be clear, federal and state officials say the radiation sources in the meter are shielded by the device’s shielding, but the public is still advised not to touch them.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the device is a “moisture density meter” for measuring soil compaction and testing the structural integrity of roads, bridges and buildings.
Alabama is a “treaty state,” meaning materials that would normally be under the control of the US NRC, such as radioactive materials, are instead the state’s responsibility.
In a statement, ADPH told News 19 that “radioactive sources are secured inside the device by a locking mechanism and do not pose a significant risk to the researcher unless the lock is compromised and the source is removed from the internal shield.”
You can read ADPH’s full statement below:
“On the evening of January 10, 2023, the Alabama Radiation Control Center received information about a meter with radioactive material that did not appear to be in the owner’s possession. An employee of the owner contacted an employee of the Alabama Radiation Monitoring Service with information about the missing meter on the evening of January 10, 2023. Alabama Radiation Control sent an employee to find the pointer; however, the employee could not find a meter there. On the morning of January 11, 2023, the Alabama Radiation Control Center was contacted by a knowledgeable person working for the owner of the gauge. The gauge was lost at 5750 Mooresville Road in Tanner, Alabama. The container of the box is yellow and rectangular in shape, with the words “Caution…Radioactive Material” on the box labels. The maker and model Troxler 3430 are also printed on the box. The device inside the box is used for construction work such as measuring soil density and compaction. The device has 2 radioactive sources. Sources should be kept inside the device shield, but we ask that the public not touch the device. The device is owned by Building and Earth Sciences, phone numbers 205-836-6300 or 205-422-4820. Civil and Earth Sciences contact person is Richard Brown. Anyone who may know the device’s location should contact local law enforcement, Alabama Radiation Control or emergency management agency officials. Alabama Radiation Control can be reached at 334-290-6244, 1-800-582-1866 or 334-324-0076. Radioactive sources are secured inside the device by a locking mechanism and pose no significant risk to the researcher unless the lock is opened and the source is removed from the internal shielding. Alabama Radiation Control and the owner continue to monitor this issue.
The unidentified man who took the case is believed to be unrelated to the company he owns, Building and Earth Sciences.
After realizing the measure was missing, the CRA said an employee was sent out to find it Wednesday morning, but found nothing along Mooresville Road.
ARC confirmed with News 19 that they are “continuing to monitor this matter” with the owner of the yellow case.
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Anyone with information about the whereabouts of a radioactive incident should contact local law enforcement, ARC or Emergency Management Agency officials.
Alabama Radiation Control can be reached at 334-290-6244, 1-800-582-1866 or 334-324-0076.
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