Australian news, and some related international items

Swedish drones shine light on potential threat to nuclear plants, say Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA)

Recent reports of mysterious drones overflying several nuclear power plants in Sweden have illustrated just one of the possible future threats faced by Britain’s reactors that must be addressed, say the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA).

In his letter to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn, has identified ‘a void (of information) on the preparations in place to deter physical attacks upon nuclear facilities or the theft of nuclear materials from site’, and he has called the absence of such information in the agency’s latest Draft Business Plan for 2022-25 ‘not reassuring’.

In December 2021, the Non-Proliferation Policy Education Centre published a paper outlining the risks posed by military and terrorist strikes on nuclear facilities in the Middle East.  Although the dynamic in the UK is not the same, the NFLA wants the NDA to draw from it the relevant lessons about the vulnerability of nuclear plants to strikes by missiles and drones, sophisticated technologies now increasingly available to terrorist groups as well as nation states.

On 18 January, BBC News reported sightings of drones in preceding days over the Forsmark, Ringhals, and Oskarshamn nuclear power plants. The Swedish Police appealed to the public to come forward with information, and the Swedish Security Service, Sapo, launched an investigation into the perpetrators who were suspected of ‘grave unauthorised dealing with secret information’.[i]

These recent developments have prompted the NFLA to call for the NDA to include in its final Business Plan ‘some record of any activity or exercises, or future plans, to address these threats (subject to restrictions on the disclosure of sensitive information on grounds of security)’. 

Speaking for the NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Cllr David Blackburn, said:

‘Although the NFLA welcomes the NDA’s stated commitment to participate in exercises to counter cyber attacks, it is worrying that the current draft Business Plan is silent on the preparations that the NDA and its partners has in place to counter any potential physical terrorist attack on a facility, which might be by land, air or sea, or upon nuclear waste in transit, or to prevent the theft of nuclear materials from sites. It is our hope that we can see further detail in the final version.’

February 3, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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