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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