Are college nuclear reactors safe?

Tech Culture

ABC News has published a story that questions the safety of nuclear reactors on campuses, and it's one that some universities are disputing.

The media giant sent journalism student interns on tours of twenty university research reactors last summer. The students did not identify themselves as working for ABC or state the intent of their visits. According to ABC News, none of the college reactors had metal detectors, and only two appear to have armed guards.

At MIT, an ABC News producer drove a rental truck and got fifty feet away from an MIT reactor and obtained an operating schedule. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will now investigate security at five of the campuses, ABC said.

Although not believed to be one of the schools the NRC will investigate, MIT disputed ABC's take. Obtaining the schedule did not compromise security. The truck also didn't enter the secure perimeter.

"MIT's nuclear reactor is safe and secure," said Professor Alice Gast, associate provost and vice president for research at MIT in a prepared statement. "We have a responsibility to the people of Cambridge and to the MIT community, and we would not operate the reactor if we believed that it posed a threat to their well-being."

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