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Candida L Eittreim

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Analysis: Prime Time Live's Loose Nukes
By Candida L Eittreim   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, October 17, 2005
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2005

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Why are these reactors even needed on campuses? Some located across from major Arenas or other public sites

I'm hoping many of you took the time to watch Prime Time's program dealing with our universities nuclear reactors. I did, and it proved to be a very thoughtfully prepared and intense hour of informative TV. As it wound up, Diane Sawyer asked her co-anchor Brian Ross "Are we the only ones outraged or concerned by this?"

The story began with college students in pairs, from across the country, many Carnegie Institute Fellows, attempting to gain ingress to each of the 25 reactors at the listed universities. In every case but one they gained access very easily. In all but the one school, no security was present at all. Doors were left propped open all day and night with garbage cans or books. There were no video cameras or even security systems in place at most of the sites. At 3 AM, students were able to walk right in, right up to reactor room doors. Had they been up to no good, no one would have been there to stop them. All of these sites carry either weapons grade enriched uranium, or just below it, in enough quantities to produce two full scale nuclear weapons or dirty bombs.

In a majority of the campuses, the pairs were able to be taken directly into reactor rooms, stand for over 30 minutes by the cooling pools, and even posed for pictures, wearing backpacks or carrying heavy bags, none of which were searched. What especially shocked me was some reactors, such as the one in Washington State, are not being used for scientific research at all. Instead, they are hired out for commercial purposes. Cited was enriching the color of topaz to a brighter blue.

The Nuclear Regulatory Agency representative continually either excused or stated he did not possess enough information about a particular campus to comment. Boy, that's so very comforting-having an inept bureaucratic idiot acting as watchdog over such a crucial issue.

Following this program, the NRC is conducting active investigations at specific sites, and of course bureaucratitis is alive and well in Washington DC, where "hearings" are being set on this matter. I have a much better idea. Get rid of them. There is no reason that anyone can give, given the threats facing this country, to have 25 unprotected pools of weapons grade uranium on ANY campus. Especially when hearing that security in most of these campuses is left to campus police, and not highly trained guards, or even video surveillance.

This is just another example of the careless routine indifference that so dominates the security of our critical infrastructures. If you are as concerned as I am, write your local congressperson and senator, and demand these issues get addressed immediately. Would you want your child attending one of these places? I wouldn't.

If you missed the program, I'll provide the link to the DVD you can purchase of this very important report.


Web Site: Loose Nukes

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Reviewed by Ian Thorpe 10/17/2005
Oh dear Candy, you have lost your way love. This TV show you refer to sounds like it was inspired by another epidemic of paranoia. Had there not been reactors on University campuses we would not have many highly effective cancer treatments and numerous indispensibe scientific instuments. The lack of securitry surrounding academic reactors is linked with the difficulty of stealing fissile material and the difficulty of putting it to any practical use. I have seen items about "dirty bombs" on TV here. A conventional bomb would do much more damage. In fact, you could make a much more effictive dirty bomb from the waste produced by a modern coal fired power station (try walking over a power station ash heap with a geiger counter - I have, its fun.)With a nuclear bomb it is the shock wave that does the damage, not the radiation. To date less than a hundred people have died as a result of the disaster at Chenobyl.
Let the students have their fun, nothing they do can ever be as potentially dangerous as the possible actions of a man prepared to go to war on the strength of advice from God.
BTW I'm still waiting to hear from you.

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