Arrests at UK Nuclear site: Sellafield, Cumbria

5 men have been arrested close to the Sellafield Nuclear Processing Plant in Cumbria, UK after a “Stop and Check” by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. The 5 men, believed to be in their 20’s and from London, have subsequently been taken to Manchester and are being held under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The men are believed to be of Bangladeshi origin.

Subsequently, 4 properties have been searched in the London area as part of the investigation and whilst it is too early to speculate, as the investigation has only just begun, no connection has so far been made to the recent death of the terrorist leader Osama Bin-Laden, nor Al-Qaeda, however the arrests do come just hours after the reported incident.

Sellafield  undertakes re-processing of nuclear waste and manufacturing of nuclear fuel and was the home of Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power plant which operated from 1956 – 2003. No power  is now  generated at Sellafield, however it does contain bunkers which store a vast amount of nuclear material – enough to make “thousands” of nuclear bombs.

Whilst the manufacture of a nuclear bomb is both very difficult and highly specialised, terrorists could use such material to create a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD) or “Dirty Bomb”. No intrusion into the site has been reported.