A college student was arrested after threatening to blow up a nuclear reactor kept at their school’s engineering building if the school’s football team didn’t win.
The 21-year-old student, who has not yet been named by police, goes to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She was booked in Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday.
Salt Lake County Jail records viewed by Metro.co.uk confirm that a 21-year-old woman is being held after being charged with making a threat of terrorism.
The woman allegedly made the threat before the Utah Utes’ home game against San Diego State on September 17.
The student allegedly made the threats on social media app YikYak. According to police, the student posed a credible threat because she attends classes in the building and plausibly knew where the reactor was stored.
According to police, the student posed a credible threat because she attends classes in the building and plausibly knew where the reactor was stored.
The University of Utah does keep a small nuclear reactor on their campus. It is stored at Merrill Engineering Building, which houses the school’s engineering program.
The school’s TRIGA reactor is about the size of a microwave oven and is used for research by the school’s graduate nuclear engineering program.
The reactor is stored in a 10,000 gallon tank of water, and can only generate enough power to heat the water stored there to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gary Sandquist, a professor emeritus at the school told Deseret News that the reactor cannot generate enough power to melt down and poses no risk to the public.
‘It would probably be a greater risk that we’d have a tsunami from the West Coast that would reach Salt Lake before the reactor would cause any problems,’ he said.
University of Utah Chief of Police Jason Hinojosa told KSL News Radio the reactor has special security protocols, and that the school has a zero-tolerance policy on threats of this kind.
It seems the student didn’t need to make any sort of threat to motivate the Utes, who are currently ranked 13th by the Associated Press and haven’t lost a game yet this season. They won their game on Saturday against San Diego State 35-7.
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