Security fears raised after string of breaches at nuclear plants


By Martin Kelly

The Scottish National Party has raised concerns over reports that security at Britain’s nuclear power stations is being breached eight times every month.

An investigation by the Sunday Post revealed there had been almost 400 security breaches at nuclear power plants in the UK since 2010.

A Freedom of Information request by the newspaper revealed that there were 42 breaches recorded last year.  In 2012 there were 121 incidents, there were 116 in 2011 and 145 in 2010.

Commenting, SNP Energy spokesperson Mike Weir said:

“These revelations of 398 security breaches since 2010 at nuclear power plants across the UK are of great concern – as is the fact the information has only come to light through Freedom of Information requests.

Speaking to the newspaper, independent nuclear expert John Large said: “It is deeply worrying that the ONR admit there are existing weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the nuclear plants.

“But on matters of nuclear safety and more so in security of nuclear facilities the ONR is compulsively secretive – so much so that it will not engage in any public debate.”

According to the paper, there are fears that the number of breaches could be even higher after the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) changed the definition of what constututes a security risk.  The ONR has refused to release details of hundreds of incidents, claiming that to do so could lead to attacks from terrorists.

Mr Weir added: “Wherever nuclear power is concerned, safety must be paramount at all times – there is no excuse for security oversights as any breach could have potentially fatal consequences. The Office for Nuclear Regulation must now set the record straight on this by publishing the full details of security breaches and making it clear what is being done to address safety and security concerns as a matter of urgency.

“I will also be lodging Parliamentary Questions in the House of Commons this week to determine exactly what steps the UK Government intend to take to ensure that all safety concerns are addressed – and explain why action has not been taken before now.”