Protest exposes Sizewell B security fear

FLAWS in the security surrounding Britain's most modern nuclear power station were exposed again today as 19 protesters "invaded" Sizewell B.The Greenpeace members staged a pre-dawn raid of the station on the Suffolk coast, and had got into the control building and onto the roof beside the landmark dome before security guards knew what was happening.

By Paul Geater

FLAWS in the security surrounding Britain's most modern nuclear power station were exposed again today as 19 protesters "invaded" Sizewell B.

The Greenpeace members staged a pre-dawn raid of the station on the Suffolk coast, and had got into the control building and onto the roof beside the landmark dome before security guards knew what was happening.

Ten of the protesters made their way into the control building itself, while the other nine began to climb the dome.

Greenpeace staged the peaceful demonstration to "expose the farce" of security.

Volunteer Rob Gueterbock, who was one of the protesters on the reactor dome, said: "Sizewell B is easier to get into than a Norwich nightclub.

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"It is a terrifying thought that if we can do this then anyone can."

Campaigns director Blake Lee-Harwood said: "We are calling for there to be a massive increase in the security around nuclear power stations in Britain. In the long term the only way to guarantee security is to close them down and not build any more.''

Mr Lee-Harwood added: "We are not here to stop it operating, we are not going to touch any buttons, we are just here to demonstrate how easy it is for us to get to the most sensitive part of a nuclear power station, with all the catastrophic repercussions that could have.''

He said the protesters would try to gain access to the main control room.

The group said they used wire cutters to get through wire fences between a public beach and the power station.

They used ladders to get into the control building and to climb on to the reactor dome and said it took five minutes for three unarmed security guards to arrive.

No alarms were heard as they broke in, they said.

Only three months ago Greenpeace staged a similar break in at the station, and the latest incident comes just months after a light aircraft with an Evening Star photographer on board was able to fly within four metres of the power station.

The protestors arrived at Sizewell shortly after 6am and by first light had established a base-camp beside the dome.

Climber Paul Schot led the climb to the top of the white dome, and was due to be followed by other members of the environmental pressure group afterwards.

Speaking from beside the dome, Mr Gueterbock said they had been appalled at the lack of security.

"It appears that nobody knew we were here until we had all got into the control building and then up onto the roof.

"Since then we have seen some British Energy workers and there was a police officer here at one stage, but they are just keeping an eye on us," he said.

The protestors are not committed to staying at the power station. "We plan to remain here for as long as it takes to get the message across about security," said Mr Gueterbock.

A spokesman for British Energy said: "Although the protestors had got into the power station site there was no serious security breach.

"Their activities have been monitored throughout by our highly trained security staff and they are not posing any threat to the operation or safety of the power station. We are generating electricity at full production."

Our security has been designed in consultation with the Office of Civil Nuclear Security and any changes would have to be discussed with them."

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