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Belgium: staff refused access following news that terrorists had considered attack on nuclear plant

safety-symbol1Nuclear Staff Lose Access After Brussels Attacks http://news.sky.com/story/1666949/nuclear-staff-lose-access-after-brussels-attacks 25 Mar 16 

A number of workers at the Tihange plant have their passes withdrawn as reports say nuclear sites could have been targeted. The entry badges of some workers at Belgium’s nuclear sites have been withdrawn amid reports the suicide bombers who attacked Brussels may have originally planned to target a nuclear power plant.

Nuclear control agency spokeswoman Nele Scheerlinck confirmed that “in recent days, several people have been refused access to the nuclear sites”.

The El Bakraoui brothers, who blew themselves up at the airport and metro station on Tuesday, had secretly filmed the home of the head of Belgium’s nuclear research and development programme, it has been reported. :: Terror Suspect Linked To Paris Ringleader The footage recorded the nuclear chief’s routine and caused investigators to conclude the terrorists “could have put national security in danger like never before”, according to Belgian media.

However, the arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam forced them to switch to targets, said reports.

A police source is quoted as saying: “There is no doubt that they rushed their operations because they felt under pressure. “Even if one couldn’t prevent these (Brussels) attacks, one can say that their magnitude could have been much bigger if the terrorists had been able to implement their original plan and not opted for easier targets.”

In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s attacks at the airport and subway, security was boosted around Belgium’s nuclear sites and hundreds of staff were evacuated.

Belgian media reports said 11 staff had their badges withdrawn at the Tihange plant. Ms Scheerlinck said the move is “not necessarily linked with the terrorist attacks”. However, she added that the decision usually takes weeks and is based on information from the intelligence services and police, as well as a person’s criminal record.

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog warned of Friday that countries need to do more to prevent “nuclear terrorism”.Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that it was not impossible that militants could manufacture a “primitive” device.   It is now an old technology and nowadays terrorists have the means, the knowledge and the information,” he said.

Mr Amano also warned about the dangers of a “dirty bomb”.  “Dirty bombs will be enough to (drive) any big city in the world into panic,” he said. “And the psychological, economic and political implications would be enormous.”

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March 26, 2016 - Posted by | incidents, safety

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