University College Cork has remained tight lipped on any leaks or incidents involving radioactive material on its campus.
The Echo recently sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to UCC seeking information on radioactive material housed at the university for research purposes.
The request asked for “any information regarding any radioactive material on campus, how it is stored, what it is used for, and any leaks or incidents in the past ten years”.
A response from UCC said that the term “radioactive material” was a broad one and could even include smoke detectors as many conventional smoke alarms include a small amount of radioactive material.
The response went on to say that radioactive material in UCC is used for the purpose of research and teaching and is stored on campus according to the conditions set out by the university’s license.
“These are small quantities of materials which, in research, are mostly used in commercially available analytical devices.” The response to the FOI added that UCC is inspected to ensure safe storage of radioactive materials on campus.
However, the university refused to comment on any “leaks or incidents” in the past decade.
The response explained that “a head may refuse to grant an FOI request if access to the record concerns could, in the opinion of the head, reasonably be expected to prejudice or impair lawful methods, systems, plans or procedures for ensuring the safety of the public and the safety or security of persons and property.” UCC was contacted for further clarity on the matter.