Armed police set for nuclear stations
ARMED police are set to man a permanent watch of Sizewell nuclear power stations.A national consultation about the beefed-up security measure is currently taking place, and is likely to result in an armed police presence at all the UK's civil nuclear plants.
By Sarah Chambers
ARMED police are set to man a permanent watch of Sizewell nuclear power stations.
A national consultation about the beefed-up security measure is currently taking place, and is likely to result in an armed police presence at all the UK's civil nuclear plants.
But the Department of Trade and Industry has stressed that confidence in current security arrangements is “undiminished”.
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The police officers deployed will be from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary (UKAEAK), which has around 600 officers whose job is to protect nuclear material on behalf of the Government both at nuclear sites and in transit.
It is authorised to use armed police officers, and these are trained to the highest standards set by the Home Office, including advanced training in the use of firearms.
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They will form a visible presence both in and around the sites, including at Sizewell A and B.
It is being stressed that the there is no suggestion that any of the sites are a specific terrorist target, and that the latest move is the result of a “considered review of security arrangements”.
A DTI spokesman said: “This is likely to mean armed officers at all the UK nuclear generating sites.
“I can't really get into much detail really as regards which sites and when for obvious reasons, because we would not want to give too much information about security arrangements.
“The Director of Civil Nuclear Security, who has instigated this, has undiminished confidence in the existing security provision. This is just a prudent enhancement of that provision and it's in response to no specific threat.”
Station managers at Sizewell A and B stations have written to members of the Local Community Liaison Council to inform them about what was happening
Matt Sykes, station director at Sizewell B and Mike Wilding, site manager at Sizewell A, wrote: “Clearly we will not be able to give you any further in-depth details about the introduction of these measures but it is quite possible that you and our neighbours round our sites - will soon be aware of this enhancement.”
A spokesman for British Energy, which runs Sizewell B, said: “The Office of Civil Nuclear Security has set out requirements to further enhance the already robust security arrangements at all civil nuclear power stations with the permanent deployment of armed police from the UKAEA Constabulary.”
Robin Thornton, spokesman for Sizewell A, said: “We want people to know this is happening but obviously we can't go into further details for obvious security reasons.”
Security at the Sizewell stations has been breached in the past. In January 2003, Greenpeace protestors scaled the Sizewell B dome and in June 2003, RAF planes flew close to the stations during the Queen's birthday flypast.