Nation's Only High Level Transuranic Radioactive Waste Facility Goes Unguarded

MORRIS, Illinois - The Morris Operation, located in Morris, Illinois, is the home to the nations only high-level radioactive waste storage facility in The U.S.  

The site, situated next to the Dresden Generating Station, southwest of Joliet, Illinois, houses 772 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods. 

When I learned of the Morris Operation, I traveled to Illinois to get photos for a previously published article about the struggles our nation is having with the storage of nuclear waste. 

What I've learned, from traveling to nuclear sites around the country, is that it's really challenging, if not almost entirely impossible, to get photos of these places, due to the amount of security. 

When I reached the Morris Operation, I was shocked to learn that I was able to drive right up to the facility.  

I walked around the perimeter for over an hour, taking photos, noting that the entire time I was there, no one approached me to ask me what I was doing, which was very alarming, considering the extremely radioactive contents of the site.  

There were roughly three cars in the parking lot of the site and no security guard.  

When I left the Morris Operation, I was utterly stunned that I had just been able to easily walk around the facility with no question.  I thought to myself, if I was a terrorist, it would be incredibly easy to enter this facility, overtake the employees, and have access to the spent nuclear fuel I would need to build a dirty bomb.   

I'm not particularly prone to histrionics, but in this case, I feel that my concern is duly warranted because the concern of bad people obtaining the fissile materials needed to create weapons is very real. 

In my opinion, an immediate focus needs to placed on security at The Morris Operation, to protect this and other countries from the dangers of hostile foreign and domestic terrorists.  

Repeated press requests to the Department of Energy, about security at the Morris Operation, have received no response.