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127 NUKE JET ALERTS; Fears terrorists will kill millions.

Byline: Ian Dow

NUCLEAR bosses fear a terror attack that could kill millions after more than 100 planes breached no-fly zones around installations.

At least 127 planes have flown too near power stations and nuclear weapons centres in the past five years.

A leaked Parliamentary report suggests a plane flying into one of the targets like in the September 11 atrocities could cause a disaster similar to Chernobyl.

An aircraft flown into waste tanks at Sellafield could cause 'at worst, several million fatalities', it said.

The report obtained by New Scientist magazine said the Faslane nuclear submarine base and Torness power plant have both had problems.

The incidents included one on April 24, 2002, when a jet flew so close to the Torness reactors in East Lothian that it set off three intruder alarms on the perimeter fence.

Since the attacks in New York and Washington DC, the size of the no-fly zone around UK nuclear sites has been doubled.

Aircraft are now banned from flying within 3.7 kilometre radius of a facility, and must also stay above a certain height.

But these restrictions have been ignored again and again.

Declassified reports from the Ministry of Defence revealed 56 breaches by military aircraft between 2000 and 2003.

Four complaints came from the MoD's own nuclear weapons sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, and Faslane on the Firth of Clyde.

Other complaints about military planes were made by operators of civilian sites.

Seventy-one civilian aircraft have strayed into no-fly zones since the beginning of 1999.

The Civil Aviation Authority had sufficient evidence to launch formal investigations in just 12 cases.

Four investigations were continuing, and there had been two successful prosecutions.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology is due to publish a report on the risks of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities in the next few weeks.

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COMPLAINTS: A jet set off intruder alarms at Torness
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 27, 2004
Words:320
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