Plant security around the globe

30 October 2001

As reported last month, security measures at nuclear facilities around the world have been tightened. Fearful of renewed public fears of nuclear power, these measures are being stepped up.

The Japan Coast Guard has started patrolling waters near nuclear plants on a round-the-clock basis. At the request of the 14 prefectural governments that host Japan’s nuclear plants, the coast guard has dispatched patrol vessels to cover all 17 plants.

In France, Defence Minister Alain Richard said France was prepared to use warplanes to shoot down hijacked aircraft. As a complementary measure, ground-to air missile batteries have been installed at the reprocessing plant in La Hague.

The European Commission has announced to the European Parliament that work is in progress to ban aeroplanes from flying in air space above nuclear power plants in the EU. Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner António Vitorino said that he “recognised public concern about possible threats to factories and nuclear installations” and said new safety measures would be put in place.

He also underlined the need for the design of new plants to take account of possible risks posed by terrorist groups. Mr Vitorino said the EU would use its Euratom inspection powers to consider the safety of the transport of nuclear material and power plants.

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