Extra security for nuclear station

BEEFED-up armed security is now patrolling the cordon of a nuclear site, a plant manager confirmed.New Sizewell B director Mark Gorry said the recent introduction of Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers around the site had been a source of discussion among local residents, but was "intended to give confidence".

By Sarah Chambers

BEEFED-up armed security is now patrolling the cordon of a nuclear site, a plant manager confirmed.

New Sizewell B director Mark Gorry said the recent introduction of Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers around the site had been a source of discussion among local residents, but was "intended to give confidence".

Security at the site, which is home to Sizewell A and B, was reviewed along with plants throughout the country following the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, amid concern about them becoming potential targets.


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As a result, police armed and equipped in a similar way to the police now visible at international airports will now patrol the area around the plants, which lie near Leiston.

The sites were put on the highest vigilance level following the London bombings in July, he added.

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"We now have an armed contingent on site. That's caused some discussion at the residents' groups," said Mr Gorry, who was talking at the second meeting of the new Sizewell A and B stakeholder group, a community liaison group for the two stations which was set up following the launch this year of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

It was intended to give confidence, and also act as a deterrent, he explained.

"It's an area we are improving. It's very important we have confidence in that. It's fairly visible to the public outside the site fence."

At the meeting held yesterday, members of the stakeholder group also welcomed news that the NDA wants to accelerate decommissioning and release of nuclear sites to 25 years or less, compared with a timetable of up to the 100 years set out under previous proposals.

Group chairman Richard Smith said: "This is the most significant of all the proposals, to bring this timescale down by three quarters. I welcome it."

But Paul Naylor, the Environment Agency's lead nuclear regulator for Sizewell A and B, sounded a note of caution.

"I think it's important that when that strategy is discussed that all the costs and potential costs are discussed openly," he said.

After the meeting, he explained that while he welcomed the idea, he felt the implications for matters such as discharges needed to be looked at.

"We obviously support rapid decommissioning, but when it's discussed I think it's important that's considered," he said.

It was important to look at what happened to the waste and to the discharges, he said.

"There's no point discussing the timescale in isolation, without all the other factors put in place," he said.

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