Monday, October 17, 2005

Texas A&M Takes on ABC News Report

Texas A&M University is taking issue with a number of assertions ABC News made in their report on the visit to the school's Nuclear Science Center (NSC):

Dan Reece, the director of the NSC, said there were many false accusations in ABC's report.

"You'll notice that they did not show any unlocked doors or backpacks at A&M," Reece said.

"We are allowed to give tours to the public by the federal government, and visitors are allowed to use cameras."

Reece said if small explosions were put into the reactor pool, the explosion would make a mess inside the NSC but do nothing beyond that. He said the walls of the pool are made of 5-foot-thick cement.

"If that happened, I might not have a very pretty place to work the next day, but the health and safety of the public and students are our main concern," he said.

"Primetime" reported that the reactor on A&M's campus is running on highly-enriched uranium or weapons-grade material, which is 90 percent enriched uranium; however, according to a fact sheet issued by the University, the fuel on which A&M's reactor runs is 60-percent enriched uranium.

The NSC is in the process of converting the fuel to 20-percent enriched uranium, according to the fact sheet.

Leslie Braby, an A&M nuclear engineering professor, said it would be extremely difficult to steal the fuel or create a dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is a weapon made of conventional explosives, such as dynamite, and radioactive material, which scatters radiation and contamination in the air, he said.

"Even if there were 12 people willing to use a suicide attack on (the reactor), there still wouldn't be enough time to do it before the police would respond," Braby said.

Braby said the reactor is located underneath 30 feet of water and that to get to the fuel would take a very long time.
More later from other schools. If you're reading, and you're at one of the institutions smeared by this report, please send your info our way.

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