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 the University of California, Davis.
Reactor Name: The UC Davis McClellan Nuclear Radiation Center (UCD MNRC)
Fuel: Low-enriched uranium
Power Level: 2.3 MW
Began Operating: 1990
Location: A stand-alone building on a former U.S. Air Force base, now an industrial park. Adjacent to an airstrip used by private planes and the Coast Guard. Residential rental units are .2 miles away. A playground and aircraft museum are within a half-mile. The reactor is about 25 miles away from the main UC Davis campus.
Security Observations: A barbed-wire topped fence and concrete barriers surround the facility. A locked pedestrian gate requires a code or key card. Security cameras are positioned on top of the building and near the gate.
What We Found: The Fellows parked in front of the reactor for about three minutes before an employee came out of the facility, approached the car and questioned them. They were asked to leave.
University Reaction: "Reactor security is not something we simply discuss," said Guy Steingass, reactor supervisor. Andy Fell, a university spokesperson, said there has been an increase in security since the 9/11 attacks.
Additional Comment: The Carnegie Fellows who visited UC Davis said they think it would be pretty hard to get into the reactor. "We pulled up to the building, and we just sat in the car for about two minutes, shooting [video]," said Michelle Rabinowitz, who obtained her master's degree from USC's Annenberg School for Communication. "And then someone came out of the building, looked at us, went back inside, and one minute after that, he came out and said, 'You're on candid camera, what are you doing here, you shouldn't be here.'"