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Letters to the Editor

MIT Reactor 
Not Easily Penetrable

A recent story in The Tech (“ABC Says MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Unsafe,” Oct. 14) quoted me as saying, of the irradiated fuel at the MIT reactor, “One person can pick it up and carry it away.” It is correct to say that a single individual who did not care about his health or survival could carry one of these fuel elements to a waiting vehicle without receiving an incapacitating radiation dose. Obviously it would take a larger and better-equipped group of adversaries to have any significant chance of success in trying to break into the reactor, get access to the fuel elements in the first place, load them into a vehicle, and deal with the likely police response.

At the same time, it is worth noting that the security measures in place at the MIT reactor when the ABC team arrived were perhaps the most stringent of any reactor they reviewed, with two armed guards on-site, compared to zero elsewhere.

Matthew G. Bunn G

Senior Research Associate

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Harvard University

Abortion Debate 
Easily Simplified

Both sides of the abortion debate give many arguments in support of their side, needlessly complicating a very simple issue. The issue at the center of this debate isn’t whether the child is a product of rape, has a soul, will have a bad life, or will one day develop a cure for cancer — it’s about whether the child is a living human being, plain and simple. No one suggests killing two-year-olds because they were the product of rape or because they are living a bad life. The same is true for newborns; we have laws against such brutality. This is for no reason on the baby’s part other than the fact that he or she is correctly recognized as a living human being.

Is a baby not living before birth? Nonsense; then the definition of life would be based on whether the being occupies a certain space: the womb. Some abortion advocates prefer to draw the line at the point when the baby can survive “on its own,” even though a two year old can’t even survive “on its own.” The problem with this is that it places the definition of life on a sliding scale based on available technology.

Joel Fernandez ’06

Safe Parking 

For Bicycles

MIT has started an institute-wide research project on future energy sources and usage. A good way to start a project is to do something local and practical right from the start.

Bicycling is the most energy efficient transportation method. MIT should encourage its students, faculty, and staff in choosing cycling over driving. One good way is to provide safe bicycle parking. It is easy: either convert some indoor parking for bicycle use, or build a new (small bikes do not take much space) building for bikes.

This would be both a symbolic and practical step towards a more sustainable future.

Matti J. Kinnunen G