Nova Scotia

Stolen radioactive gauge found in Cape Breton

Cape Breton officials have recovered a stolen piece of equipment containing radioactive material, known as a Troxler density gauge.

Density gauge containing radioactive material discovered behind vacant building

Cape Breton officials have recovered a stolen piece of equipment containing radioactive material, known as a Troxler density gauge.

Bruce MacDonald, the deputy chief of the Sydney Mines Fire Department, said members of the Cape Breton Regional Hazmat Team wore specialized suits and breathing apparatus when they went to retrieve the gauge on Saturday.

"We just wanted to make sure that everything was fine," said MacDonald.

"Where it had been out of the possession of the owner for a period of time and we didn't know what had happened in that time frame. We did take a good look at it and everything seemed OK."

Last week, Cape Breton Regional Police issued a warning about the gauge, which uses a nuclear source to measure soil and asphalt density. Because the piece of equipment contains radioactive material, police believed it could pose a risk of radiation exposure if it was tampered with.

The owner of the gauge had it in the back of a truck and contacted police when he noticed it was missing.

It was found behind a vacant building on Legatto Street in Sydney Mines on Saturday.

MacDonald said he contacted the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission before his officers tried to move the gauge.

"We took some measurements with our meters that measure radiation, discussed our findings with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Agency and identified that the readings that we had were in the norms expected for that device," he said.

Since the gauge had not been tampered with, it was returned to its owner.

Cape Breton Regional Police say they have no suspects in the theft, but their investigation is continuing.

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