Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Following "Loose Nukes" on ABC News

I've been paging through the ABC News message board attached to this story, and some of the reaction from folks there can't be encouraging for the people who put together the series. Here are some choice reactions:

Can ABC and the students they used to gain access to the facilities admit that they lied to gain entry? That they used tactics and methods that would NEVER result in danger to the public? Why does ABC want to cut or dramatically reduce the research (including cancer and environmental research) performed at these research reactors?

Sad, really.
But wait, there's more:
One would have thought that the mainstream media would have learned it's lesson from the Dan Rather/fake National Guard documents debacle. Using dishonest journalistic techniques to push a crusading agenda is not the way for the mainstream press to regain lost credibility. Having your story become THE story is the surest way to end up with egg on your face. Is ABC News thinking of hiring Mary Mapes? Maybe they already have?
And it gets better:
ABC needs to come up with some more original topics for reporting. This kind of fearmongering is just plain wrong. I guess they've exhausted every possible angle on the killer hurricane subject, so now they have to move on to something else in order to scare viewers into watching and giving them the ratings they want. Sheesh.
For our coverage of this report, and the questionable reporting techniques used by ABC's crack group of interns, start here and follow the links. I had my TiVo set up to record the segment from today's edition of Good Morning America, and will have more on that segment tonight.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's some text from my NEI colleague Felix Killar that's pertinent to the research reactor portion of the ABC series:
Every research reactor has multiple layers and techniques of security. These include surveillance and detection equipment, and alarms with an armed security force response.

University research reactors are licensed and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Since 9/11, the NRC has required site-specific security enhancements for reactors of two megawatts of generating capacity and greater, and for reactors of less than two megawatts of capacity. There continues to be coordination between the NRC and the research reactor community on ways to further enhance security commensurate with the small volumes of irradiated fuel in these reactors. A second round of security requirements from the NRC is expected in the near future.

All of the uranium fuel at research reactors is either in the reactor vessel or has been irradiated in the reactor and is securely stored. For this reason, even a suicidal terrorist who might be willing to risk lethal exposure to steal this material – which is typically quite heavy – would have to spend some period of time trying to steal it. The material is not accessible in a way that would allow anyone to make off with that material in 20 or 30 minutes.

The amount of uranium fuel in research reactors – most of which are below ground level – is sufficiently small that even in the event of accident – there is virtually no risk to the general public even in close proximity to the buildings that house the research reactors.
Definitely something to keep in mind.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: And speaking of research reactors...

LINK UPDATE: Here are a couple of blogs who are linking to the ABC content: Political Pit Bull and TVNewser.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The ABC sroty is very telling. Attempts to downplay little or no security is unforgivable. So, the girls tricked 'em. Wonder what a terrorist would do?