Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
"We basically drove Timothy McVeigh's truck up to the reactor and
parked it right adjacent to it," Graham said.
Graham was there for about 45 minutes, he said, and "nobody showed
up. That's scary."
The reactor's supervisor, George Miller, disputes that the
facility is a threat to residents. If this sounds familiar, it's
because Graham brought it up last fall, when he challenged former
Rep. Chris Cox for the seat Cox held since 1988.
Now Graham is one of 17 candidates running for the empty seat. Cox
left office in August to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The university's 250-kilowatt reactor was built in 1969. It's
small -- Miller contrasted it against San Onofre's 3,000-megawatt
reactor -- and it's only used for research.
After Graham brought up the issue in 2004, Cox toured the facility
and said he was satisfied with its safety. But Graham believes the
university at least should install cement barriers to prevent people
from driving trucks up to the building, or else decommission the
"Certainly you can question my objectivity on political grounds if
you want," Graham said. "The way I see it, it's really a civic
responsibility. It's my job to point out things that are dangers to
me and my neighbors.... I also see it as a broader national issue
that needs to be raised."
Miller said he's not denying the building contains hazardous
materials, but other labs and campuses around the country also do,
and UCI's reactor has never had any safety-related incidents.
Contrary to Graham's assertion, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
does inspect the reactor's security regularly, Miller said.
People may be more worried these days because of the recent
terrorist attacks in London, but those were on subways and buses -- a
small nuclear facility is not likely to be high on a list of
terrorist priorities, he said.
"I also am a resident on campus, and it doesn't bother me that
this is here," Miller said.
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