Explosives found at nuclear power plant in Sweden - security levels increased

Yesterday explosives were found at the Ringhals nuclear power plant in Sweden. In response to this, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority increased security levels to “yellow”, which is the second level of a three-point scale, at all Swedish nuclear power plants.

The explosives were found on a large truck that was about to enter the inner area of the nuclear power plant where the reactors are located. To be able to enter this inner area of the nuclear power plant you need to go through another and more rigorous safety screening. And it was here that the nuclear plant’s own security personnel found the explosives strapped on a fire extinguisher on the truck.

Apparently the explosives were found earlier yesterday afternoon, Swedish time, but it wasn’t until just before midnight as the incident became public knowledge. Yesterday night the police continued to search through the nuclear power plant and surrounding areas with bomb dogs.

Gösta Larsen, head of communications at Ringhals, calls the incident "worrying".

- It's not so nice to find something that we believe to be explosives in a vehicle that is entering Ringhals. It's an event that puts some thoughts into motion. We have strengthened our own preparedness and we will step up the security checks of everyone who is entering the area even more for now, Larsen said.

According to the police there was no danger of explosion because there was no ignition device connected to the explosives. Security levels at all Swedish nuclear power plants will remain high. Police are still very cautious with information but say they are classifying the incident as sabotage. There are no suspects at this time.

Ringhals' four reactors have a production capacity of 28 terrawatt hours per year and produce nearly 20% of Sweden’s electricity. The nuclear plant is located on the southwest coast of Sweden near Gothenburg, the third biggest city in Sweden. Ringhals has previously received harsh criticism for its lack of proper safety procedures and follow-ups from both officials and former employees at the plant. Between 2009 and 2011 the nuclear plant was put under special supervision of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

This is not the first time explosives have been found in connection with Ringhals. In the 1980s about 30 kilos of explosives were found in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant. The bomb was successfully defused before it could detonate. And in 2008 at the Swedish nuclear power plant Oskarshamn, two men were arrested when they tried to enter the premise of the nuclear plant with explosives. The two men had under a longer period worked with repairs at the nuclear plant.

Swedish sources: Aftonbladet, SR, Krisinformation, Sydsvenskan, DN.

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Simon Leufstedt
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