Swedish regulator orders tighter security at nuclear plants

OSLO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Sweden’s nuclear regulator has ordered tighter security measures including armed guards and perimeter dog patrols at its nuclear power plants because of the global security situation.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority said the country’s nuclear plants could implement the measures from now and they would have to be in place by Feb. 4 next year, at the latest.

“If they do it sooner, it would be good,” a spokesman for the authority said.

Sweden has nine nuclear reactors in operation at three power plants.

Sweden’s Vattenfall operates Ringhals and Forsmark power plants, while Germany’s E.ON operates Oskarshamn, and has a stake in Ringhals plant. Finland’s Fortum has stakes in Forsmark and Oskarshamn.

The new requirements for the physical protection of plants will become part of nuclear power licences, the authority said.

“The new conditions implemented will for instance imply armed security guards at Swedish nuclear power plants,” it said.

“This is not being done because of a single event, but because of the changes in the overall security and safety situation,” the spokesman said.

Nuclear plants in Sweden are already regarded as protected installations with no-fly zones in place.

But there have been several incidents in recent years where activists campaigning against nuclear power have exposed lax security at the sites.

In 2012, for example, about 50 Greenpeace activists scaled a chain link fence using ladders at the Forsmark site and got close to the reactor buildings. They said one activist was on the site for four hours before being discovered. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by David Clarke)