Skip to main content

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.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…