Student Arrested After Nuclear Threats Over Utah Football Game

Sep 22, 2022, 9:41 AM | Updated: 1:00 pm
Utah Campus - College...
Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY- It can be hard to not get sucked into the passion and excitement that comes from watching live sports, but sometimes it gets taken too far. A University of Utah student was arrested Wednesday after making threats to detonate a nuclear reactor on campus if the Utah football team lost their game to San Diego State last weekend.

Thankfully, the Utes won convincingly, 35-7.

Police Report Of Nuclear Threat

According to the police report that KSL Sports obtained, the subject of interest was a 21-year-old female engineering student with knowledge of where the nuclear reactor is kept on campus. The report also said the student takes classes in the same building where the reactor is housed.

The threats were posted to the social media website Yik Yak where the subject declared if the football team did not win their game against San Diego State, she would detonate the reactor causing mass destruction.

Yik Yak allows people to post in their area anonymously. It is similar to Twitter but anonymous and you only see posts from others in your area, not from around the world.

Nuclear Reactors On College Campuses

Believe it or not, nuclear reactors are quite common on college campuses across the nation according to an article by JP Acosta of SB Nation.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the Atoms For Peace initiative in the 1950’s while the Cold War was raging on. The point of the initiative was to share non-military nuclear training to dominate the nuclear power market across the world.

While most universities decommissioned their reactors in the 1980’s, there are still some that are alive and well. The University of Utah happens to be one of them hence the incident last Saturday.

Utah football will take the field again this Saturday opening Pac-12 play against Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. MT/7:30 p.m. Pacific on ESPN.

Statement From Campus Police

The university campus police department issued a statement Thursday afternoon:

“Although the student said her statement was meant as a joke, “we have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” said Chief Jason Hinojosa. Making terroristic threats, including bomb threats, is classified under Utah Code here: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S107.3.html”

The University of Utah is holding a press conference on the matter at 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.


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