TOP SECRET


The razor wire fence that surrounds Sellafield is the first indication that this is not your average chemical works. Each day thousands of incoming workers have to pass slowly through police checkpoints to reach their workplace. Because of their potential, nuclear materials create the need for extra police and security provisions. In the past this was managed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority constabulary ,but now re-badged as the CNC Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Details from Guardian newspaper in 2009 on this force . . They recruit and operate independently of the civil police. They can now carry arms at all times; have the power to enter any house or premises at will; they can arrest anyone on suspicion anywhere in the UK. Officers do take the similar Oath of Allegiance to the Crown as the civil police. The CNC police carry weapons to patrol certain areas inside the razor wired perimeter of Sellafield. They have their own firing range inside the Drigg nuclear dump site and their own team of trained dog handlers. Armed officers accompany sensitive secret movements of material to and from Sellafield. These movements, in unmarked vehicles, include plutonium from Sellafield, tritium from BNFL Chapelcross near Carlisle, movements of MOX (plutonium and uranium) fuel to Carlisle Airport and to Barrow docks.

The police role is now overseen by the Civil Nuclear Police (The branding as 'civil' is an attempt to distance the industry from any military capability)
Official website: http://www.cnc.police.uk/

Anti-nuclear groups such as CND often play a cat and mouse game with these secure convoys and try to publish details of such movements. After an embarassing breach of security when Greenpeace campaigners clambered onto the roof of the plutonium store the perimeter fence was further enhanced with fresh razor wire. Inside Sellafield even tighter security exists to guard the plutonium storage vaults. All employees at Sellafield have to sign and agree to the terms of the Official Secrets Act.

Movements of plutonium MOX fuel from Sellalfield and France to Japan have in 1999 led to light cannon being fitted to the bows of nuclear transport ships such as the Pacific Teal.
Typical of the cost of extra security for MOX and other nuclear movements was Operation Neptune to guard the MOX shipments in July 1999. An armed Royal Naval frigate was drafted in, UKAEA police, with sub machine guns available were joined by officers from Cumbria, Humberside, Lothian and Borders police forces to merely move four tonnes of MOX fuel. Such nuclear shipments have become so sensitive they have been banned from the Panama Canal and a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee statement about a shipment in the 1980s gives an idea of the concerns; The cargo vessel will be continuously shadowed by warships and constantly transmit an update on its position via satellite.
The best book giving details of Britain's secret nuclear relationship with the USA is 'The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier' by Duncan Campbell, published by Michael Joseph, ISBN 07181 2350 6.


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