Nuclear site arrest powers increased

A LEADING anti-nuclear campaigner has condemned a change in the law which will allow police to arrest any unauthorised person found on the Sizewell nuclear site - regardless of whether they are causing damage or disruption.

By David Green

A LEADING anti-nuclear campaigner has condemned a change in the law which will allow police to arrest any unauthorised person found on the Sizewell nuclear site - regardless of whether they are causing damage or disruption.

The change has come about as the result of a new amendment to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act in the light of what is perceived as a terrorist threat to nuclear power plants in the UK.

Security around all the country's nuclear installations has been tightened and armed police now patrol the area around the Sizewell site.


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British Nuclear Group, which runs the Sizewell A nuclear power station, claims the change in the law means that any unauthorised person found within the boundary fence can now be arrested, even if they are not considered to be causing damage or disruption.

But Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said the amendment, which applies to all nuclear sites, was a retrograde step in terms of civil liberties.

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“This is a further incursion of our freedom because one could be there quite innocently,” he said.

Mr Barnett said the change in the law endorsed his view that nuclear power led to a security regime which was akin to a “police state”

He also demanded an assurance that people outside the security fence at Sizewell, but still on nuclear industry property, would not be liable to arrest.

Part of the dune area bordering Sizewell beach is owned by the A and B sites and unobtrusive signs have been erected to show the boundary - up to 30 yards from the security fence.

“I can see a situation where people enjoying a day out by the sea but wandering over the boundary line will be arrested,” Mr Barnett said.

British Nuclear Group said the new powers of arrest apply only to unauthorised persons found within the boundary fence. The fence defined the licensed nuclear site.

The company said the change in the law was necessary because trespass was a “grey area” which needed clarification.

Ray Jepps, Sizewell A site manager, said: “This amendment heightens the already robust security measures at Sizewell A, ensuring that we are best placed to protect our workforce and nuclear fuel from intruders.”

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