Nuclear watchdog charges nuclear operator over lax security

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stockholm - The Swedish nuclear watchdog on Wednesday filed charges against the operators of a Swedish nuclear plant over failing to uphold security checks at the plant. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said the Oskarshamn nuclear plant operators had failed to ensure 24-hour checks of people entering and leaving the site.

The security lapse was detected in connection with an inspection at the end of May, the nuclear watchdog said.

Since the security checkpoints were not manned during part of the night it was possible for someone to enter or leave the site without being inspected for traces of radioactive material, the agency said.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority filed its complaint to the public prosecutor in Kalmar that was to review the allegations.

The Oskarshamn nuclear plant OKG said it "welcomed the investigation" and would cooperate with the authorities, adding that the events were linked to "different interpretations of the exemptions" earlier allowed. The checkpoints were now manned 24 hours a day.

The Oskarhamn nuclear plant generated headlines earlier in May after an explosives scare.

Two men were detained on suspicion of planning sabotage after a so- called smear test triggered an alert for an explosive at a spot security check.

The men, who were later released without charges, had been hired by a sub-contractor conducting routine maintenance work on one of the plant's three reactors that was offline.

The plant in south-eastern Sweden, operated by the energy groups E.ON of Germany and Finland's Fortum, produces about 10 per cent of Sweden's electricity.

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