Sizewell: New book imagines terror attack on Suffolk’s nuclear plant

Author, Barrie Skelcher with his new book ' The Day England Died'. Author, Barrie Skelcher with his new book ' The Day England Died'.

Sunday, April 13, 2014
12:10 PM

A former nuclear industry safety official has written a novel based on his fears that it would become easier for terrorists to cripple the UK if the Government gives the go-ahead to big infrastructure projects such as Sizewell C.

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Barrie Skelcher was head of the health physics department at Sizewell A during the 1960s and 70s and went on to become technical officer at Sizewell B.

His novel, The Day England Died, is due to be published by the Book Guild on April 24.

It tells the story of a group of terrorists planning an attack on a nuclear power complex – by blowing up the pylons connecting it to the grid and disabling emergency generators which could be used to help cool the reactors and prevent a Fukushima-scale disaster..

Although the name Sizewell is not mentioned in the novel, the terrorists base themselves in Suffolk 20 miles from a former fishing village where there is a nuclear site.

In the novel it is called Deephole and is close to a town of 7,000 inhabitants called Munchington.

Mr Skelcher, who lives in Leiston and is a sailing enthusiast, started his nuclear industry career working for the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Dounreay in Scotland in 1954 and took early retirement from Sizewell B in 1987.

Mr Skelcher, who has three children and four grandchildren, said he was opposing the construction of Sizewell C because he believed the power should be generated where it is needed – in London and the Thames Valley – and that concentrating so much generating capacity on one site would make it easier for terrorists to cripple the UK

“As power is being imported at Sizewell from offshore wind farms another power station there would be putting too much power in one place,” Mr Skelcher said.

“My guess is that terrorists will try to better the Twin Towers attack but deploy different methods.

“In this context, the power stations, whatever type they may be, could be targets.”

An EDF Energy spokeswoman said the company could not discuss security but acted on all recommendations and instructions from the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

“The Civil Nuclear Constabulary is deployed at all EDF Energy nuclear sites to further enhance the already robust security arrangements. These officers work alongside existing security teams at each station,” she added.

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