Reporter Puts Fake Bomb On Nuclear Train

Status
Not open for further replies.

Coxster

Established Member
Joined
9 Jun 2005
Messages
9,244
Quote from the Daily Mirror website:



WE PLANT 'BOMB' ON NUKE TRAIN
By Tom Parry


A MIRROR reporter planted a fake bomb on a train carrying a deadly cargo of nuclear waste.

He exploited security lapses to wander up to the unattended wagons at a North West London depot.

A terrorist could have blown up the waste - sparking a vast toxic cloud that would have killed hundreds.

Expert Dr John Large said: "In a built-up area like this an attack would have an instantly disastrous impact."

'THE GATE WAS OPEN, THERE WERE NO SECURITY GUARDS.. I WALKED UP TO THE TRAIN AND PLANTED MY BOMB'

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IT looks like an ordinary freight train. Drab, workmanlike and uninteresting.

But it carries a lethal nuclear cargo that could cause untold deaths if targeted by terrorists. Once a week the diesel-powered locomotive goes unnoticed as it pulls four trailers hundreds of miles around our rail network.

Few are aware the train trundling from the Kent countryside to Cumbria carries radioactive flasks of spent uranium fuel rods.

After the July 7 terror bombings most would think such a vulnerable target would be under the tightest of security.

But a Daily Mirror investigation has revealed a series of astonishing flaws that will inspire horror and disbelief. Incredibly, I was able to place a device that could have been a bomb on the 12-ton cargo as the train sat in sidings at a North West London rail depot.

I approached in daylight after the wagons were left seemingly unattended for almost 10 minutes. The driver, who was taking a break nearby, even left the engine running while myself and a Mirror photographer stood beside the radioactive material.

For two months we had monitored the trains that carry waste from nuclear power stations to the Sellafield reprocessing plant.

We discovered the flasks are frequently open to a potential terror strike while the locomotives wait in a depot.

The vast North West London yard is just a short walk from a sports stadium, a large hospital and one of the capital's major roads. It is surrounded by housing estates. All in all, the perfect weak spot for a terror strike.

Nuclear transport expert Dr John Large has estimated an attack on containers of radioactive waste could kill 8,000 people in an instant.

Thousands more would become victims as a vast poisonous cloud of up to a hundred square miles drifted across Britain.

On Wednesday, the nuclear train pulled in to the depot on time at 7.54pm after leaving

Kent's Dungeness Power Station three hours earlier and travelling slowly through stations at Ashford, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and South London. On arrival the crew of one man and one woman climbed from the cab and walked to a hut 100 yards away.

Two private security guards initially patrolled the train while it stood waiting for a replacement crew for the next leg of the journey north. But they were only visible for 15 minutes before disappearing.

Suddenly there was no one to see us. As we approached the train the four flasks, each containing enriched fuel pins, were clearly indicated by their radioactive warning signs.

We were able to take photographs for several minutes. Anyone with a basic knowledge of driving trains could have hijacked it. By the time we walked past the front of the train the replacement driver was in position, but he did not challenge us. Minutes later he pulled out, heading through Milton Keynes, Rugby, Crewe and Warrington, before arriving at Sellafield.

My only identification as a legitimate rail worker was a fluorescent orange jacket and hard hat, on sale at any builders' merchants.

And this was not a one-off. It was the tenth time I had wandered freely into the depot.

Not once was the main entrance gate shut. The security booth, containing a bank of blank screens for CCTV cameras that never appeared to be functioning, was always empty. Drivers and track maintenance workers who saw us walking between the rails nodded or said hello. I was never asked for a security pass, supposedly obligatory in a fenced-off area. Other trains arrive from Suffolk's Sizewell A power station. Some get there in the middle of the night and wait for long periods in the virtually unlit yard.

A rail insider said: "Security is a joke. All you need to do is find the gate and you can wander at will. If you wear an orange jacket no one will ever ask what you are doing."

Last night nuclear experts and politicians said they were horrified by the Mirror's findings. Dr Large said: "I'm appalled. Every one of these trains would be a potential target for terrorists. If you had an incident in London, I estimate that 190,000 people would have to be evacuated. Those flasks were designed to counter accidents. But they weren't designed to counter the likes of al-Qaeda."

Lib Dem environment spokesman Chris Huhne said: "This is a shocking revelation."

A spokeswoman for Direct Rail Services initially claimed it would not have been possible to get close to the nuclear flasks while the train is stationary at Brent yard.

But after seeing our evidence she said: "The entire journey is protected by very stringent security. However, having seen these pictures we will speak with our security people. A full investigation will be carried out."
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Simming

Established Member
Joined
8 Jun 2005
Messages
1,186
Location
Cornwall
whats the charge for trespassing?

times that by 10...

I hate tabloids soo much, it probably easier to hi jack the truck that carries the flask from some places to the actually powerstation?

does anyone know if a bomb would actually blow open the flask too?
 

Lewisham2221

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2005
Messages
1,014
Location
Staffordshire
In addition to the 10(???) charges of tresspass that he should face, surely developing a plan to plant a 'fake bomb' on a train and then publicise the operation, giving detail locations etc could be classed as a frm of terrorism in itself?
 

Jonno2055

Member
Joined
9 Aug 2005
Messages
390
Location
Essex
Lewisham2221 said:
In addition to the 10(???) charges of tresspass that he should face, surely developing a plan to plant a 'fake bomb' on a train and then publicise the operation, giving detail locations etc could be classed as a frm of terrorism in itself?

Exactly, they are actually giving terrorists the ideas and telling them where they can carry out their plan.
 

bunnahabhain

Established Member
Joined
8 Jun 2005
Messages
1,986
I find it amusing how they think leaving a locomotive idling for a lengthy period of time is dangerous, it's not as if they're going to get far without coming off at catch points.
 

Guinness

Established Member
Joined
13 Jun 2005
Messages
3,737
Jamie said:
I find it amusing how they think leaving a locomotive idling for a lengthy period of time is dangerous, it's not as if they're going to get far without coming off at catch points.

Depends on whether route is set or not.
 

Tomnick

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2005
Messages
5,562
Even if the worst did come to the worst, and they managed to get this train out onto the mainline, over a set of traps that would most likely not be set - it'd take a very serious accident indeed to do any noticeable damage to the flask...we know how well built they are. So you might as well 'hijack' any other train, as it'll have the same effect!
 

ChrisCooper

Established Member
Joined
7 Sep 2005
Messages
1,787
Location
Loughborough
I doubt a bomb of that size would be anything like enough to damage the flask enough to release radioactivity. For a start, only a small amount of energy from the blast would be directed towards the flask. The flasks themselves are made of very thick steel. You only have to look at the fairly minor damage to vehicles that have been blown up to see that bomb blasts don't tend to do a lot of damage to steel structures, and they are considerably thinner steel and the bombs are usually on the inside, so you get an overpressurisation on the inside which blows the vehicle apart. The flasks are also designed to disipate energy for any incident. The bomb isn't on the flask itself anyway since the flask is actually contained in that structure he's placing the bomb on. Even if the flask was breached, the chances of a major release of radiation is very small. The idea the doomsayers want to put across which is of a massive cloud of radiation being spread across a large area in a short space of time could only occur with a massive bomb (you'd probably need a nuke anyway) right next to the flask, or better (from the point of view of someone who want it), a large bomb inside the flask. I even suspect that many view the potential for a thermonuclear explosion, but that's not going to happen. Gettting a nuclear warhead to expload is very difficult, hence why nukes took such a long time to develop after the theory was discovered. The material in the flasks is nothing like a nuclear warhead.
 

asopu10

Member
Joined
16 Feb 2006
Messages
59
Tabloids are stupid and they should get the highest trespasser fine, but they also should have better security.
 

Dennis

Established Member
Joined
8 Aug 2005
Messages
2,676
Location
Trowbridge
Perhaps we will see a return of armed guards riding in a brakevan on these trains, as used to happen many years ago.

Still rememeber back in the eighties and nineties flask trains running along the line by where I live (think they were from Winfrith Heath, now decomissioned). Classic bit of 37 thrash; now I wish I had bothered to take some shots.

Is it not true that the majority of these trains are really glorified binliners and only carry low level waste - stuff like irradiated suits and other potentially contaminated 'rubbish'? Not much of a terrorist target I would have thought. Spent fuel rods on the other hand are a different matter;
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top