Ten students, working for ABC News, visited nuclear reactors on 25 college campuses and found many gaping security holes, prompting a federal investigation. Here's what the team found at North Carolina State University.
Reactor Name: NCSU PULSTAR Reactor
Fuel: Low-enriched uranium
Power Level: 1 MW
Began Operating: 1972
Location: Inside a campus engineering building in a park area with benches and swings, near other academic buildings. Less than two miles from the state capitol building.
Security Observations: No guards or metal detectors. No general tours post 9/11. Doors to the building are open during the day, but locked in the evening and on weekends.
What We Found: The sign on the glass doors at the Burlington Engineering Laboratories states that the "doors must be unlocked during business hours." The Fellows were able to enter and walk around the building. A picture of the reactor's schematic diagram hung on a poster in a stairwell. The door to the Nuclear Materials Laboratory was open, but the reactor room itself was not visible. In the evening and on the weekend the doors to the building were locked.
University Reaction: The reactor is secure, said Andrew Cook, manager of engineering and operations. "Everybody's doing their job," he said. "We don't skimp when it comes to spending money on security, but we'd always like more."
Cook said that the doors to the complex are often open, but the door to the reactor facility itself is locked, adding that the keys are heavily controlled. He said that the schematics of the reactor are posted for evacuation purposes.