UK nuclear power plants vulnerable to drone attacks, claims nuclear expert

21 December 2014 (Last Updated December 21st, 2014 18:30)

Nuclear power plants in the UK are vulnerable to drone attacks and the potential security threat is a major concern, according to a report by British nuclear expert John Large.

Hinkley Point Coast

Nuclear power plants in the UK are vulnerable to drone attacks and the potential security threat is a major concern, according to a report by British nuclear expert John Large.

The nuclear engineer and government adviser John Large in his report noted: "In each of the four attack scenarios that I examined, the plant fared very badly indeed.

"If these scenarios had been for real, then there would have been the potential for a major radioactive release."

Large added that the current power plants are not designed in a manner to endure an attack of ‘near-cyborg technology’.

His modelling indicated that the flexible access and manoeuvrability of the drones shows these machines could fly over and break into even physical barriers.

"Large said current power plants are not designed in a manner to endure an attack of ‘near-cyborg technology’."

Drones that are small and battery-powered can lift 10kg or even more of cargo. These vehicles are capable of following and implementing intelligent commands.

According to The Independent, UK officials have forwarded the evidence shown by Large to the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Last month, three people, including one woman, were arrested near the Belleville-sur-Loire reactor in Cher of France, after they were found using remote-controlled vehicles within 200m of the facility.

The three people were released only when it was found that they were model aircraft enthusiasts who were unfortunately operating in a restricted area.

This work was commissioned by Greenpeace France. Large added that that Greenpeace France has the right to keep the details of the report private. However, the UK authorities could have access a copy of the review.

Although drones are intended for commercial and civilian use, there are concerns that these could be deployed by terrorist outfits for surveillance.


Image: Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Photo: courtesy of Richard Baker / Wikipedia.