UK authorities are underestimating the risks of devastating terrorist attacks on nuclear plants and shipments of radioactive material, according to an expert report seen by the Sunday Herald.
A new analysis for the 40-strong group of Nuclear-Free Local Authorities (NFLA) highlights the vulnerability of Scottish nuclear facilities at Faslane, Hunterston, Torness and Dounreay to mass drone strikes, sophisticated cyber attacks and terrorist infiltrators.
The report has demanded urgent action from ministers as it warns that governments and regulatory agencies are struggling to keep up with evolving threats with regular transports of nuclear materials by road, rail, sea and air also potential targets.
Backed by a second expert report, NFLA is calling for anti-radiation pills to be distributed to households in Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounding areas as a precaution. This could help protect people from a radiation leak from an accident or attack at nearby nuclear power stations.
The report on nuclear security was compiled by Dr David Lowry, a senior research fellow with the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, USA, and a former director of the European Proliferation Information Centre in London.
He thinks that the most likely attack is a mass drone strike against fuel stores at reactor sites, or against fuel flasks being transported by rail around the country.
The second report for NFLA was written by Dr Ian Fairlie, an independent radiation scientist, and focuses on the stable iodine tablets that can prevent radiation poisoning after some nuclear accidents. They are widely distributed in advance by several other European countries, but only given to residents who live within two or three kilometres of nuclear plants in Scotland.