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Nuclear alert

Sweden raises nuclear alert levels after truck carrying explosives found on nuclear plant premises

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: nuclear alert, Sweden, explosives

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(NaturalNews) Sweden's three operating nuclear power plants have raised their security alert levels to stage two after a recent security breach took place at the Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant in the country's southwest region. According to reports, a forklift truck carrying a fist-sized explosive device was recently discovered on the facility's premises by sniffer dogs as part of a routine security screening at the plant.

The small, clay-like explosive device was found attached to a fire extinguisher in the forklift, which was apparently owned by the plant. The device did not have an actual detonation piece attached to it, and authorities say it was too small to cause significant damage anyway. But the device was clearly intended to breach plant security for some unknown reason, which has investigators puzzled.

So far, officials have been unable to figure out who might have been responsible for getting the explosives on the Ringhals premises, or how they even got there in the first place. After reviewing security footage, interviewing witnesses, and combing the entire plant's property for evidence, investigators are at a loss for how the explosives even made it inside the facility.

"We don't know what the idea behind this was, what was the plan?" said local police spokesman Ingmar Nilja to the WSJ about the case. At this point, the truck's driver has been ruled out as a potential suspect because he apparently had no idea that the explosives were on his truck. "These are some of the questions we will try to answer with our investigation."

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Ringhals had already been under special surveillance since 2009 when a vacuum cleaner that was left in a facility hallway caught fire suddenly. That bizarre incident left the reactor out of commission for eight months, during which time improved security measures were supposedly put in place to prevent future inexplicable problems. But these measures are apparently still inadequate, as is evidenced by the recent explosives breach.

In what is now being dubbed an attempted sabotage situation, authorities have erected a barrier around the forklift as they proceed with their investigation. Meanwhile, nuclear critics are decrying the lack of security at nuclear plants not only in Sweden, but also around the world. And on an unrelated, but similarly strange, note, one of Ringhals' four reactors experienced an unexpected oil leak which led to a stoppage just days before the explosive was discovered.

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