Vallecitos Nuclear Reactor: Intruders Arrested
Alameda County, California: Intruders arrested at a nuclear facility known to use weapons grade uranium were still not identified by Friday. The two men accessed the fence around the Vallecitos nuclear reactor. Few nuclear plants use HEU, or Highly Enriched Uranium – read that potential weapons-grade material. But Vallecitos happens to do so.
Seeking Alpha reported:
Two people jumped a security fence at a GE Hitachi (GE, OTCPK:HTHIY) research reactor near San Francisco, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says, raising concerns over security at a plant that is one of the few in the U.S. that uses highly enriched uranium.
The intruders cleared a security perimeter fence at the Vallecitos reactor yesterday afternoon before being “detained” and “did not breach the inner perimeter fence nor access any buildings or operational areas and were immediately approached by security,” GE says.
The Vallecitos nuclear reactor is a 1,600 acre facility that was privately financed. The two intruders jumped the outer fence, but according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, fled as soon as someone spotted them. They were later arrested outside the plant.
The NRC notice did not mention that the plant is one of the few in the country to use highly enriched uranium, or HEU. Such plants have been under pressure from nonproliferation interests to convert to low-enriched uranium, or LEU, a material that cannot be used to make a bomb. GE Hitachi Nuclear is a venture between General Electric Co and Hitachi Ltd. GE said in a release that the individuals “did not breach the inner perimeter fence nor access any buildings or operational areas and were immediately approached by security.”
They have gone to great lengths to reiterate that the intruders did not make it into the inner perimeter fence. So we’ll take that at face value. No names have been released, so it has “gone quietly into the night,” off into the black hole of government detainees.
Featured photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commision on Flickr (public domain)