Virginia Contractor Facing Fines for Losing “Nuclear Item”

By John Wist
|  Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011  |  Updated 3:57 PM EDT
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VA Contractor Loses Nuclear Tool

Flickr: break.things

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Thefts at construction sites aren’t unheard of. But if you happen to be keeping some radioactive material at that worksite, there is less tolerance for these kinds of losses.

Ashburn-based GeoConcepts Engineering, Inc., is facing fines from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after losing a nuclear device. According to the Baltimore Sun, the company discovered that a portable nuclear gauge, used to measure soil density, had been stolen from a construction site at Fort Meade Army Base in Maryland.

The company told the paper that the device, which contains a small amount of radioactive material, was stored in a lock box chained to a container at a jobsite when it was taken. GeoConcepts notified the NRC, and about 10 days later the device was found by base police.

According to the Sun, the Regulatory Commission regulations require the company “use a minimum of two independent physical controls to secure the portable gauge from unauthorized removal.” The NRC says however that GeoConcepts did not meet that requirement and has proposed a $3,500 fine.

GeoConcepts told the Sun they disagree with the ruling. They have 30 days to respond to the fine.
 

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