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Student arrested, accused of making nuclear threat unless Utes won

The student section of the Utah Utes cheers in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17. A University of Utah student was arrested Wednesday after police say she threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the Utes didn't win on Saturday.

The student section of the Utah Utes cheers in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17. A University of Utah student was arrested Wednesday after police say she threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the Utes didn't win on Saturday. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student was arrested Wednesday after police say she threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the Utes football team didn't win on Saturday.

The 21-year-old woman was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of making a threat of terrorism.

On Saturday, the University of Utah football team hosted San Diego State at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The woman "posted threats of violence" on the Yik Yak app before the game, stating that "if the football team did not win the game, (she) was going to detonate the nuclear reactor that is located in the University of Utah causing a mass destruction," according to a police booking affidavit.

Police noted that the student does have knowledge of the nuclear reactor and "is aware of where the reactor is located and attends class in the same building where the reactor is housed."

On Thursday, the university released a statement regarding the arrest, saying that even though the student claimed her comments were a joke, the school has "a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats."

University of Utah police also noted that the school's nuclear reactor "is secured and alarmed and police have unique protocols for managing any breach of the facility."

The arrest comes just a few weeks after a 19-year-old U. student was arrested for investigation of the same crime after he also allegedly used the Yik Yak app to make a bomb threat directed at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building. When that student was arrested, he said the threats were a joke and that he had no intention of carrying them out.

The Utes beat SDSU on Saturday 35-7.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.

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