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Activists break into Swedish nuclear plants

Activists break into Swedish nuclear plants

Published: 09 Oct 2012 10:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Oct 2012 10:36 GMT+02:00

Activists from environmental rights group Greenpeace managed to break into restricted areas of nuclear power plants Forsmark on the east coast of Sweden and Ringhals in the south.

“The fact that we got this far shows a completely insufficient security,” said Annika Jacobsson, head of Greenpeace Sweden, to news agency TT.

Greenpeace calls the action a “peaceful stress-test” to draw attention to the lack of security at the plants.

Local police on Tuesday morning confirmed the activists’ security breach:

“They are in a prohibited area and they will be removed,” said Stefan Dalhhielm of the local Halland police to TT on Tuesday morning.

At Forsmark, officials also confirmed the presence of the activists:

“Yes, they are here. I guess they have climbed the fence again,” said Forsmark spokesperson Claes-Inge Andersson to TT.

According to Uppsala police, nine activists managed to breach the first barrier and climbed up some light posts. However, according to Greenpeace, some 50 activists made it into restricted areas of the plant.

At Sweden’s more southern plant, Ringhals, some 20 activists have managed to get in on bicycles.

“As soon as they cycled into the restricted area, they committed a crime,“ Dahlhielm told TT.

It is still unclear how the bicycle-riding activists managed to get through the gate, which is manned by security guards.

According to local police, 43 activists had been arrested at Forsmark by 11am and 16 at Ringhals.

What Greenpeace wanted to draw attention to through the action, is that security is lacking especially when it comes to “external threats or threats from the air”.

“What the EU hasn’t tested for is whether unauthorized people could get into the plants. What we have done today is show that security is alarmingly lax, when 70 activists could get into restricted areas of the plants using ladders,” Jacobsson said to TT.

Activists have previously managed to get into restricted areas, but spokespeople from the plants have said that they have never got close to the reactors.

However, Greenpeace argues that unauthorized people shouldn’t be able to gain entry at all and that the security situation is grave enough to warrant an immediate closure of both Swedish plants.

“They are a serious threat to the population’s health and safety. It is both what we saw today – that unauthorized can gain entry – but also the results from previous stress-tests,” said Jacobsson to TT.

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Your comments about this article

11:23 October 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Insufficient security is more easily cured by an increase in security than by plant closures. If someone manages to get past airport security, should air travel be banned?
12:26 October 9, 2012 by Abe L
Pretty sure you can charge them with acts of terrorism for breaking into a nuclear powerplant regardless of intentions. Hope they get a one-way ride to guantanamo.

Greenpeace should hit the books as a forbidden organisation sometime soon.
13:31 October 9, 2012 by eppie
Abe L, you don't really understand the situation do you?

Also it seems you don't understand what terrorism means.

Meanwhile let's just continue like nothing happens and repeat our mantra that our nuclear plants are safe.
14:13 October 9, 2012 by stparker1979
It is highly unlikely that a power plant that produces 35% of electricity will be closed down in the immediate future. Though this does make a good case for it being shut down.
14:33 October 9, 2012 by dommitchell
What I find really scary is that just a heavy snowfall could damage the reactor buildings by putting too much weight on the Ringhals roof! http://www.greenpeace.org/sweden/se/nyheter/blogg/they-will-never-learn-will-they/blog/42504/
16:10 October 9, 2012 by Svensksmith
Poor security is not going to make nuclear power any safer.
21:38 October 9, 2012 by Rat bat
Well I think that there us a bit of a problem, if Greenpeace break in then they say that security is too slack but I imagine that they would hate it even more if someone shot their activists as they climbed the fence. Then they would moan about brutal security measures.

I think that the fact that the security team at the reactor sites arrested these twits before they could enter any of the important areas suggests that the security arrangements at the reactor site work.
22:30 October 9, 2012 by Mark S.
This is a test of whether large numbers of people can get in. Is it that they were not noticed at all? Or is it that it is hard for 10 security guards to prevent 50 people from climbing over a fence?

Obviously, if they got in, security could be better.

In the US, some military bases have signs on the fence that say "It is unlawful to enter this area without permission of the Installation Commander" and "Use of deadly force is authorized". That latter means the guards can shoot first and ask questions later if they find you inside the fence and consider you a threat.

This might not keep Greenpeace activists out because the guards might be reluctant to kill them, but if you shoot at the first one over the fence, the other 49 might be deterred from trying.

This may sound like a harsh approach, but it is exactly what Greenpeace is calling for: Make it impossible for unauthorized persons to enter the facility. If your concern is that terrorists might break open the reactor, then deadly force is not an unreasonable defence.
00:02 October 10, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Allocate some of the plant's electricity to electrify the fences around the plant, along with warning signs, and with infra red motion detection cameras, with software to highlight detected movements to security staff who are sitting in front of the monitoring screens, and finally deploy a squadron of Swedish military personel with their night viewers and weapons to stop potential terrorists, military personel who would otherwise be shooting mosquitos in the forest in an endless series of war games.
08:44 October 10, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
I agree with some of the other comments. I reckon the only reason they got in was because they were Greenpeace activists. I image the security radio recordings go something like this:

- "Boss, those nutters from Greenpeace are outside the fence again, what do you want me to do?"

- "Oh no, not again. Just keep an eye on them and see what they do"

- "They're climbing over the fence, can I shoot them?"

- "Tempting but no, I'll get Sven to round them all up"

- "Can't I just shoot the one with the bobble hat, he looks like a terrorist to me?"

- "No, shooting civilians, even stupid ones, is not how we do things in Sweden. Sven get your arse over there and pick them up"

- "Do I have to, it's fika time? Can't I just release the hounds? They haven't been fed yet"

- "No, we don't do that in Sweden either. Just stay where you are and grab them when they get to you"

- "OK"
09:16 October 10, 2012 by eppie
@ William SCG

Maybe, but like this Al Qaida knows how to dress up when they want to attack a plant.

Meanwhile, we have to stand in line at airports for bogus security checks done by people who are not good enough for and don't like their job.

The main problem Greenpeace has is that most people are too stupid to appreciate what they are doing.
13:23 October 10, 2012 by dommitchell
I agree @eppie! The point here is not *who* broke in, or *how* they broke in or even *why* they broke in. The point is that people *are able to break in* to Swedish nuclear power plants under the current security and safety levels which frankly is terrifying!
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