Bullets and Nuclear Reactors Don't Mix

Someone thinks shooting ranges and nuclear plants go together

Say you own a small nuclear power plant in southern Maryland. And say you want to utilize all of the land surrounding the highly radioactive materials inside the plant's reactors.

Someone brings up the idea of using it as a shooting range, so that officials can train police and other forces how to fire their guns properly.

Bullets flying around some of the most toxic materials known to man?


If you think we're kidding, think again. Apparently officials created a firing range on the secured grounds of the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Md., and use it about 200 days a year.

But the shooting was halted earlier this month after someone's off-target shots during SWAT exercises shattered glass and struck a command center near the reactors.

Didn't see that one coming, eh?

The Washington Post provides more details:

At least five bullets escaped the firing range and traveled more than a half-mile before striking buildings and a vehicle near the reactors, according to the NRC, Constellation and the sheriff's office.

One struck the plant's "outage control center," which is used as a command area to orchestrate refueling efforts. Another hit an employee's sport-utility vehicle in the parking lot. Three others struck an office facility: Two of them hit the roof, and one shattered the outer pane of a first-floor window.

Yikes!  One might think the NRC would be concerned about this. It's not.

Is Constellation Energy Group, which runs the place? Not really. Their only concern is if bullets LEAVE their property.

Officials said that gunmen usually shoot away from the plant, but somehow during this training mission someone fired toward it. The bullets cleared an almost 30-foot-high berm and traveled about 3,400 feet before hitting two office buildings and an SUV, according to the Post.

Granted, it would take a lot more than a few bullets to knock over a reactor, but is it a good idea to allow people to train with powerful weapons near nuclear facilities in this day and age?

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