Australian news, and some related international items

Brussels bombing alerts the world to nuclear sites as targets for terrorism

Terror Cell Probe Puts Spotlight on Nuclear Concerns Belgium evacuated its nuclear Lucas H target
facilities after Brussels bombing; staffers returned to work under strict security  

BRUSSELS—The investigation into the Islamic State cell behind the Paris and Brussels attacks has renewed concerns about terrorists’ efforts to get their hands on radioactive material.


Belgium’s federal prosecutor said last month that police had discovered a 10-hour tape showing the home of a man working in Belgium’s “nuclear world” during a house search linked to the Paris attacks. The recording came from a surveillance camera installed in front of the man’s home, a spokesman for the prosecutor said at the time.

The same terrorist cell has been tied to Tuesday’s bloodshed at Brussels’ international airport and a subway station.

Authorities around the globe have long feared that terrorists could get nuclear material to build a “dirty bomb” or launch an attack on a nuclear power plant. ………Belgium is especially vulnerable as a target because of the high terrorism threat and the fact that its seven nuclear reactors are at least 30 years old, said Tom Sauer, a nuclear terrorism specialist at Belgium’s University of Antwerp…….

Germany and other countries bordering Belgium have raised concerns about general safety standards at Belgium’s nuclear plants and questioned a Belgian decision late last year to extend the lifetime of the country’s oldest reactors in Doel and Tihange to 2025 from 2015.

In 2014, 65,000 liters of lubricating oil spilled down an emergency evacuation pipe at Doel’s fourth reactor in just over 30 minutes, causing the reactor’s stoppage. FANC at the time said it had “strong evidence” that this had been caused by a “deliberate manual act.” The perpetrator hasn’t been apprehended………

A study by the U.S. organization Nuclear Threat Initiative in January showed Belgian nuclear plants aren’t protected against cyberattacks, receiving the lowest score in the survey along with China, Iran and North Korea…….. Write to Matthias Verbergt at and Gabriele Steinhauser at

March 25, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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