The Norwegian environment and international development minister has expressed concern over the fallout for Norway of a potential terror attack on the British nuclear power facility Sellafield, after five men were arrested outside the plant earlier this week.
Erik Solheim, the environment minister and a representative for the Socialist Left Party, has expressed fears that a terror attempt on the nuclear processing facility would release radioactive waste that could reach Norway. The Norwegian government has long called for the closure of Sellafield, as radioactive waste that has leaked from the site in north-west England has regularly reached the Norwegian coast.
Five men from east London were arrested near the fence surrounding the facility on Monday. No details have yet been released about whether they were planning or executing a terrorist initiative, although British newspaper The Guardian confirmed that the men had been arrested under a law that allows police officers to “arrest without a warrant a person whom he reasonably suspects to be a terrorist.” They were believed to have been filming the facility.
Solheim told news agency NTB that he “has no assumptions on which to evaluate how serious we should take the arrests in England, but it is obvious that this absolutely makes real the danger and our relationship to this.” “The consequence of a terrorist attack for Norway is one of the reasons why we are very worried about Sellafield and the storing of radioactive waste there,” he said. As “it is certainly not a natural catastrophe à la Japan that is most likely to happen in England,” the minister suggested that “we have been clear the whole time that what can go wrong in Sellafield is connected with terrorist threats, and human or technical errors.”
Having visited the facility in early April, the minister will travel to the UK again in July to talk with authorities there about the issue of Sellafield. Solheim confirmed that “recently, new information from the British suggests that they are going to store a larger amount of radioactive material than originally assumed.” He conceded that “we can see these arrests as a confirmation of the fact that the British take the security around the facility seriously.” The British are “also very careful with revealing how much radioactive material is found at the facility, precisely because of the danger of terrorism.”