SCRIPT: Radioactive Road Trip 10/05

That's also true at the biggest college nuclear reactor in the country at the University of Missouri. It is licensed for enough highly enriched uranium to make more than two nuclear bombs. But our students discovered that among the important projects being carried out at the reactor is the irradiation of topaz. The radioactive rays make the gems a much richer blue. Two nuclear bombs worth of uranium to help the topaz business. The school says that helps to pay for valuable research and training.

DAN HIRSCH

I think anyone who operates one will privately tell you that their heyday was decades ago.

BRIAN ROSS

Nuclear safety advocate DAN HIRSCH helped push to shut down the nuclear reactor in UCLA in the 1980s.

DAN HIRSCH

The UCLA case, they were using it a few hours a year for instruction and for more than 50 percent of their operating hours for irradiating flawed gems. If a device has lost its usefulness, we shouldn't place people at risk. And if it has a usefulness, we then had better protect it.

BRIAN ROSS

As a final note, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has now opened an investigation based on the findings by ABC News. In particular, just how easy it was for our students, strangers, to get so close to some of the most dangerous material in the world.

HSING WEI

I've been very surprised that with seven pounds of enriched uranium, anybody can walk into that building.

KARSON YIU

There's no security around. We don't see them. Usually on bikes. We see no cops on bikes right now.

TAMIKA THOMPSON

Because we were friendly and because the director let his guard down, if we were terrorists, we wouldn't need to have him let down his guard. He would be doing the same thing at the end of a gun barrel.

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