Britain’s nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorist drone attacks

Britain’s nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorist drone attacks


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This danger is imminent. Britain’s aging nuclear power plants are vulnerable to terrorist attacks by unmanned drones that could kill thousands of people. This according to a warning by John Large, an engineer for Britain’s Atomic Energy Authority. He also says ministers are ignoring risks posed by nuclear terror assaults.

Large is calling for urgent security reforms. He is also demanding the government set up a major operation to test the resilience of Britain’s power plants against prospective attacks. This is in all the more relevant given the fact that nuclear power stations around the UK suffered 37 security breaches in 2014 – the highest number since 2011.

Too much energy is focused on risk assessments relating to accidents at nuclear power plants than potential terror attacks, the engineer argues. In a bid to sketch out contingency responses, Large analyzed a series of hypothetical attack scenarios. Each one’s scale of devastation varied, with casualties ranging from one to tens of thousands.

According to RT, the engineer concluded unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) access to nuclear plants in the UK “is relatively unimpeded.” He said drones pose a real risk to Britain’s 16 nuclear reactors.

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Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, a member of Britain’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, said Large’s policy suggestions would be considered seriously by the government. A spokeswoman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said security at Britain’s nuclear plants is of the “highest possible standard” and is under constant review.

Large’s policy recommendations follow a recent warning regarding cyber terrorism. Last month, Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky, who advises the UK government, Europol and Interpol on cyber security issues, said most states lack adequate systems to defend themselves in the event of a severe cyber-attack. The security expert suggested if cybercriminals can carry out successful attacks on well-protected financial institutions, they have the ability to wage an attack on any enterprise.

Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barak Obama resolved in January that British and American intelligence officials would test the defense capabilities of critical institutions during a series of cyber war games scheduled to kick off later in 2015. The joint cyber tests will be conducted against each state’s banks, financial institutions, and other critical infrastructure in order to improve defenses against prospective cyber-attacks and hackers.

The first war game will test financial institutions in London and on Wall Street. Future exercises will test other infrastructure, such as power suppliers and transportation systems.