Company may be fined for lost radioactive device
CHAMBERSBURG — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is proposing a $3,500 civil penalty for a Chambersburg company that temporarily lost a portable nuclear gauge in May.
The gauge, owned by Valley Quarries Inc., apparently fell out of a pickup on Interstate 81 in West Virginia. Small amounts of radioactive material are housed in the gauge, which is used to measure the density of soil at construction sites.
“While this gauge was fortunately recovered through the assistance of a citizen, the potential existed for a significant exposure to radioactivity had its container been breached,” NRC Region I Administrator Bill Dean said. “We continue to emphasize to the companies that use nuclear gauges that the utmost care must be taken to ensure they are properly secured and protected.”
The company has 30 days to respond to NRC about the agency's proposed civil penalty. The NRC announced the action on Thursday.
It would be the second time in less than a decade that Valley Quarries has been fined for inadequate security of a nuclear gauge.
According to the NRC, Valley Quarries reported on May 3 that one of its nuclear gauges was missing. One of the company's employees had been using the device that day to take a compaction reading at a road construction site near Martinsburg, W.Va.
After completing the reading, the employee placed the gauge in the back of a pickup and left for another work site. Arriving at the second site, the employee realized the truck's gate had opened and the gauge was missing.
A person found the device on the roadside, according to the NRC. After seeing public notices that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the NRC were seeking the gauge, the person turned it over to DEP on May 15. DEP later returned the gauge to Valley Quarries.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- Home sellers are able to remain mum about violent crimes committed there
- Environmental groups win in open records case against Corbett