United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 87-55: Portable Moisture/Density Gauges: Recent Incidents of Portable Gauges Being Stolen or Lost

                                                      SSINS No. 6835 
                                                         IN 87-55 

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                                October 29, 1987

                                   INCIDENTS OF PORTABLE GAUGES BEING STOLEN 
                                   OR LOST 

[Refer also to Information Notice No. 86-67, August 15, 1986, Same 


All NRC licensees authorized to possess portable gauges. 


This notice is intended to inform licensees of the recent increase in 
incidents of portable gauges being lost or stolen during use, transportation, 
and storage.  It is expected that recipients will review the information for 
applicability to their licensed activities and consider actions, if 
appropriate, to preclude similar problems from occurring at their facilities.  
However, suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute 
NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is 

Description of Circumstances: 

Several incidents have occurred recently where portable moisture and density 
gauges have been lost or stolen from licensees, either from job sites or from 
vehicles during transportation.  Gauges lost or stolen were not secured or 
were stolen while left unattended by the users. 

In one recent event, a gauge was stolen after the user failed to lock the case 
and failed to chain the case to the truck, which itself was left unattended.  
This event resulted in four violations of NRC requirements.  In another case, 
a gauge was stolen after being left outdoors, unattended, over a weekend, at a 
construction site. 


A primary contributing factor in these incidents was the failure of the gauge 
users to secure and maintain control over the gauges. 

Title 10 CFR 20.207 requires that licensed material (e.g., portable gauges) 
must be under the constant surveillance and immediate control of the licensee, 
or must be secured in storage.  At construction sites, the licensee must 
constantly control access to the gauge during use at the site, and keep it in 
locked storage when not in use. 

.                                                            IN 87-55 
                                                            October 29, 1987 
                                                            Page 2 of 2 

NRC licensees transporting portable gauges are subject to the regulations in 
10 CFR Part 71.  Section 71.5(a) incorporates certain regulations (49 CFR 
170-189) of the Department of Transportation (DOT), to which these licensees 
are also subject.  Licensees who transport gauges to and from temporary job 
sites in private vehicles are shippers acting as private carriers, and as 
such, must comply with the DOT regulations governing both shippers and 
carriers.  Title 49 CFR 177.842(d) requires that packages containing 
radioactive material (i.e., the gauge in its case) must be blocked and braced 
to prevent movement of the package during transportation (see Information 
Notice 87-31, attached).  For pickup trucks, this requirement is usually met 
when the gauge is secured within its case, and the case is secured and locked 
to the bed of the truck. 

The NRC has also noted several incidents where gauges were damaged in 
transportation accidents or by being run over by construction vehicles.  The 
most prevalent cause of such incidents is the failure by the licensee to 
secure and lock the cargo door, combined with a failure to properly secure the 
device/case to the bed of the vehicle.  Licensees are reminded that they 
should use care to avoid these types of incidents.  If a gauge is damaged, the 
area around the gauge should be restricted, and the licensee's radiation 
safety officer and NRC should be promptly notified.

No specific action or written response is required by this notice.  If you 
have any questions regarding this information notice, please contact the 
appropriate NRC regional office or this office. 

                                   Richard E. Cunningham, Director
                                   Division of Industrial and
                                     Medical Nuclear Safety
                                   Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                     and Safeguards

Technical Contact:  Don Mackenzie, NMSS
                    (301) 427-4052

1.   Information Notice No. 86-67
2.   List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015