The UK is not on track to reduce our contribution to climate change with CO2 emissions actually increasing in the last two years. Tony Blair has found himself in a vulnerable and unenviable position, desperately seeking a solution. The nuclear industry's lobbyists, equally desperate to revive their dying trade, have found rich pickings in the Prime Minister's situation. Blair seems to have frantically seized upon nuclear power as the default solution to climate change.
But building more nuclear power stations will dramatically increase the risk of a catastrophic terrorist attack, which could claim millions of lives.
UK nuclear sites are not built to withstand a deliberate crash by a jumbo jet full of highly explosive aviation fuel, and an attack on Sellafield could dwarf the consequences of the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
Some frightening facts
• The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency believe it is "far more likely" post 9/11 that terrorists could target nuclear facilities worldwide.
• The Oxford Research Group told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee that nuclear power should not be part of the UK's energy supply because it presents a major threat to our security and increases the risk of nuclear terrorism.
• Detailed plans of Britain's nuclear sites, including Sizewell, were found in a car linked to the July 2005 London bombings.
• A fire in a spent fuel cooling pond at Sizewell B could result in 3,500 to 15,000 cancer deaths and large releases of radioactivity just 100 miles from London.
• A terrorist strike on Sellafield's storage tanks of radioactive waste in west Cumbria could kill over 2 million people.
• According to confidential reports obtained by New Scientist, and the Sunday Herald, UK authorities are not fully prepared to protect people from being exposed to radioactivity.
• During 2004-05 there were over forty cases of potential security breaches at UK civil nuclear sites.
• During 2005 three suspected terrorists were caught by the Lucas Heights nuclear research reactor near Sydney, Australia.
• In October 2005 Chechen rebels were reported to have attempted to hijack five planes that could be flown into various targets, including a nuclear power station.
• A taped interview shown on Al-Jazeera TV on September 10th 2002, contained a statement that Al Qaeda initially planned to include a nuclear plant in its 2001 attack sites.
• To date, there have been six known direct attacks on nuclear power plants in France, South Africa, Switzerland, the Philippines, and Spain.
• The International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism database includes 167 terrorist incidents involving a nuclear target for the period 1970 – 1999.
To be truly terrified, download our full briefing Nuclear Power and Terrorism, pdf, 53k.