How Safe Is North Wales from Terrorists?; SPECIAL REPORT

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Byline: Hywel Trewyn

SECURITY has been tightened at nuclear power stations and other potential targets in Wales as part of measures to protect them against possible attacks by terrorists.

Fears of security breaches in North Wales were heightened after a 56-year-old man was arrested in Bangor last Thursday under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The unnamed man was questioned by detectives and released without charge yesterday. On Friday, Assembly Member Alison Halford called for anti-aircraft guns to be placed at nuclear power stations in North Wales to defend them against terrorist attacks.

The former Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside claimed Wylfa and Trawsfynydd power stations could become terrorist targets. The Labour AM for Delyn said it would be fairly difficult to prevent attacks on the power stations.

She added: "When you've got an aircraft full of aviation fuel, that's just a flying bomb. Let's also remember that when you have fanatics . . . however careful the security, it's very, very difficult to stop such things happening. But let's look on the bright side, Wylfa and the other power station are built to a very high specification. Enormous strength.

"It would be possible to put anti-aircraft guns to shoot down anything - and let's hope that it doesn't happen - but you can get anti-aircraft guns that shoot down anything that looks really sinister."

In the meantime, the state of emergency at Wylfa on Anglesey has been raised from "black special" alert to "amber". Measures to protect the former nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd - which is now going through the decommissioning process - also have ben stepped up. As a potential target, the nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield, formerly known as Windscale and which deals with spent fuel from Wylfa, is not too far away from North Wales.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is the Government sponsor, and part-owner , of the civil nuclear industry and the Cabinet office has set up a dedicated unit which is advising local authorities on security.

But BNFL, which is responsible for 15 nuclear sites in the UK, including Wylfa and Trawsfynydd, refuses to say what kind of measures are being taken. Its spokesman, David Cartwright, said: "As regards security, we follow the same guidelines as all Government locations, including military ones and the BBC. They all follow what the Government advises. We're in a state of alert or vigilance at all locations. All sites with nuclear stations are on alert. It was a "black special" state of alert but now we're on "amber alert" throughout the British Isles. But I'm not going to say what that means. We have to keep that quiet.

"The sites which are under alert include nuclear sites such as Sellafield and nuclear stations such as Trawsfynydd and Wylfa. …