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Terrorists can find nuclear targets on internet, warns consultant

TERRORISTS PLANNING a September 11-style aerial attack on UK nuclear installations can find details about their targets on the internet, a senior nuclear engineering consul - tant claimed this week. Vital infor - mation on potential targets is also held at government agencies and local planning offices, warned inde - pendent consultant John Large.

Information on the location of some of the most toxic radioactive material in the UK is freely available on the internet or in publicly accessible government documents, he said.

Large voiced his concerns as the government announced that it was imposing 600m high, no-fly zones within 3.2km of nuclear installations.

He said he had located buildings housing highly toxic nuclear materi - als and was able to cross reference the information with aerial pho - tographs of the site downloaded from the internet. Drawings showing the layout and construction of the facilities were also available from local planning offices.

Similar information has already been removed from US government and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission websites.

It is believed the UK's more mod - ern nuclear reactors would with - stand strikes by small military and civilian aircraft. But fuel and waste reprocessing plants are less robust, making them much more vulnerable to aerial attack.

Many materials undergoing processing or in storage are also much more dangerous than the uranium used in most reactors, Large warned.

In addition to plutonium powder, some sites contain hundreds of bar - rels of contaminated diesel. If ignited, the fuel - used in one type of reprocessing operation - would disperse huge quantities of interme - diate level radiation into the atmosphere, Large said.

But a BNFL spokesman rebuffed Large's claims. He said: 'In all the information that BNFL publishes, we are mindful of potential security issues. BNFL's security strategy is guided by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security.'

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