ABC news program criticizes UM nuclear reactor's security

Baltimore & Region

October 14, 2005|By JASON SONG | JASON SONG,SUN REPORTER

An ABC Primetime news report last night criticized the lack of security at a University of Maryland building housing a nuclear reactor. School officials called the report misleading.

ABC investigated security at 25 college nuclear reactors by sending a team of students into the buildings, where the students discovered unstaffed guard booths, unlocked doors and a guard who was apparently asleep, the network said.

At College Park, the network's team went to the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building, where a nuclear reactor used for training and research is located. The building is about a half-mile from the Comcast Center sports arena.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions incorrectly reported that students entering the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building at the University of Maryland, College Park are required to sign in. Students are required to sign only when entering the wing that houses a nuclear reactor, according to university officials.
The Sun regrets the error.

The student investigators were not searched when they entered the building, and there were no armed guards or metal detectors, ABC reported.

University officials criticized the report, pointing out the reactor is a teaching tool housed in a classroom building. Students are required to sign in to enter the building, but they are not searched unless they look suspicious, said Jacques Gansler, the university's vice president for research.

Students cannot go into the area that holds the reactor unless they have clearance, Gansler said. He also said the reactor contains only low-grade uranium that cannot be used in nuclear weapons.

jason.song@baltsun.com

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