When a large group of Greenpeace volunteers strolled into a nuclear power station under the early morning cover of darkness, you might expect they would meet some opposition. Shouldn't alarm bells being ringing loudly across the facility, guards running out to greet them, with at least a friendly "hello, what are you doing here?" No, it was an easy task to reach the control building and the reactor dome this morning proving that there is a serious security breach at Britain's flagship nuclear facility. If a large group of activists in bright red suits can get in so easily, so can anyone else.
Nineteen Greenpeace volunteers easily accessed the control building and reactor dome at Britain's flagship nuclear power facility.
Just after six this morning 19 Greenpeace volunteers peacefully
gained access to British Energy's Sizewell plant by cutting a hole
in the two-wire fences, which are all that separate the nuclear
facility from a public beach. The fence is just a few metres from
the door to the control building, which the volunteers managed to
gain access to by using a ladder to reach a door on the side of the
building 10 metres off the ground. Nine of these volunteers then
used ladders to climb onto the reactor dome. No alarm was heard
when the fences were breached and it took five minutes for three
unarmed private security guards to appear on the scene.
Disturbingly, this is the second time Greenpeace volunteers have
unopposed been able to break into the nuclear site. Last October
140 volunteers including several in life-size Homer Simpson
costumes encountered little security as they breached the perimeter
fence and occupied rooftops. It took 25 minutes for security guards
to arrive at the scene.
Greenpeace volunteer Rob Gueterbock speaking from the reactor
dome said, "Sizewell is easier to get into than a Norwich
night-club. It is a terrifying thought that if we can do this then
anyone can. We wouldn't do anything to interfere with the plant but
if terrorists targeted a nuclear power station it would be deadly.
These places contain stores of dangerous radioactive waste, nuclear
fuel, as well as the reactor itself. Sabotage could spread
radioactive fallout for miles around."
After the September 11th attacks, local MP and former Tory
environment minister John Gummer called for European countries to
work together against nuclear terrorism. This followed an
International Atomic Energy Authority warning that a nuclear attack
was far more likely and could come in the form of a dirty bomb, or
the targeting of nuclear facilities to cause a Chernobyl style
disaster. US intelligence reports have said that the fourth
hijacked plane on September 11th was heading for the nuclear plant
at Three Mile Island. The US based Nuclear Control Institute has
pointed to court testimony that Al Qaeda training camps offered
instruction in urban warfare at installations including power
Despite a reported stepping up of security around civil nuclear
sites, the fact that large numbers of Greenpeace volunteers have
twice been able to enter Sizewell with no security to challenge
them, has exposed these measures as woefully inadequate.
We want the government to force the nuclear industry to
massively improve security at Britain's nuclear power stations with
immediate effect. However since nuclear power stations or the
radioactive waste they create can never be made 100 percent secure,
the safest thing to do is to plan to close all our reactors down
and abandon proposals to build new ones.
"Terrorists are unlikely to blow up a wind farm or make a dirty
bomb from a solar panel," added Rob.