Friday, September 14, 2012
A research facility at the University of Texas in Austin that houses an active nuclear reactor has been evacuated after a man with a middle eastern accent claiming to be a member of Al-Qaeda warned authorities the campus had been booby-trapped with explosives.
“The university received a call from a male with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to have placed bombs all over campus. He said he was with Al Qaeda and these bombs would go off in 90 minutes. President Powers was notified and it was decided to evacuate all of the buildings out of an abundance of caution,” reports We Are Austin.com.
UT’s JJ Pickle Research facility in North Austin was also evacuated. The facility houses a a fully functional nuclear reactor operated by the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab department.
The Pickle campus is protected by a guard shack that visitors have to pass through to enter the building. The giant research facility in north Austin is not part of the main UT central campus located in downtown which also has a nuclear reactor that was built under the campus in the 1960s.
There was no incident 90 minutes after the call was made, suggesting the bomb threat was a hoax. However, it does coincide with attacks on U.S. embassies by radical Islamists as well as protests across the Middle East in response to a dubious film said to insult the Prophet Mohammad
A campus-wide email has been sent to all students, according to the Dallas News. “Evacuation due to threats on campus immediately evacuate all buildings get as far away from the buildings as possible. Further information to come,” the email reads.