Sizewell in terrorists' sights

SIZEWELL is a frontline target to terrorists, second only to the Sellafield nuclear processing plant in Cumbria, a leading anti-nuclear campaigner said today.

By Amanda Cresswell

SIZEWELL is a frontline target to terrorists, second only to the Sellafield nuclear processing plant in Cumbria, a leading anti-nuclear campaigner said today.

Charles Barnett was commenting after The Evening Star uncovered security loopholes at Suffolk's high profile nuclear power plants and called for urgent action.

His comments came after the Star showed Sizewell is wide open to attack from the air – and proved that by flying right over and taking a picture unchallenged.

A Star photographer was just ten seconds from a September 11 style impact and was carrying a heavy laiden bag, which could have been loaded with enough high explosive to cause mass destruction.

Mr Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said his first reaction was one of horror that it was so easy to fly within 750 ft of Sizewell power stations.

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But said he was not surprised after a defence select committee of MP's slammed government preparations for a civil emergency saying said the country was ill-prepared to deal with a terrorist attack of September 11 proportions.

Mr Barnett vowed to raised the issue of safety and security with Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, saying the parish was "extremely concerned".

"Sizewell B is the flagship of the nuclear installations in this country, which makes it a frontline target."

If terrorists were to perform a successful attack on Sizewell it would cause devastation far greater than the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 in the Ukraine, he claimed.

He added the only real safe measure would be to shut down all the nuclear power stations and defuel them as soon as possible so they were no longer prime targets for terrorists.

Instead he argued they should be replaced by green energy, such as wind, wave, tidal and biomass.

Meanwhile Joan Girling, Labour county councillor and executive member with responsibility for environment, transport and planning, condemned The Star's action as "irresponsible."

She said the pilot would have been committing an air traffic offence. "It was extremely foolish irresponsible thing that happened and I would expect anybody flying a light aircraft to stick to the exclusion zone.

"That it was only done to make a point and I find it quite extraordinary."

Mrs Girling said any site could be a potential site for a terrorist attack. "Raising the issue through the papers makes it more of a target."

Leiston Town councillor and former Sizewell engineer Trevor Hawkins said he was not particularly concerned about security at the power stations.

"They have tight security measures, and the dangers of an aircraft flying into them was one of the specific possibilities considered in construction," he said.

Mr Hawkins – a former RAF serviceman – said the pilot should have been aware of the exclusion zone around the power station and should have kept well clear of it.

"I go up in a private plane from time to time and pilots are all aware of the exclusion zone around Sizewell," he said.

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