More security for nuclear plants

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The owners of Switzerland's nuclear power plants are preparing to increase security around their reactors, with a new type of armed patrol.

By next autumn, armed guards will be working outside the closed perimeter of all the country's nuclear facilities.

Until two months ago, patrols with weapons were only conducted in areas within the fenced off area of a power plant, even though federal legislation has allowed surveillance beyond that zone since 2006.

Since December, private security agents have been carrying out this type of patrol around the Gösgen reactor in canton Solothurn. They are allowed to search people and vehicles, use force if necessary and shoot if there is a threat against the power plant or other people.

The cantonal police and the owners of the nuclear facilities decide together what the patrol perimeters should be, but this information is kept confidential. The aim, according the government's nuclear security division, is to avoid sabotage attempts.

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