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Europe

Swedish Nuclear Reactor Shut Down After Sabotage Suspicions

Sweden's Oskarshamn nuclear power plant shut down overnight after police detained two people for questioning on suspicion of planning sabotage.

Authorities seal off the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden

The area has been sealed off

Police and sniffer dogs were searching a reactor building at Sweden's Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on Thursday, May 22, the day after two workers were arrested on suspicion of planning sabotage at the plant.

The two men, one of whom allegedly has a criminal record, were arrested a day earlier after traces of an explosive were detected during a spot security check.

The substance TATP was detected on the handle of a plastic bag one of the men, a welder, was carrying as he tried to enter the plant, plant spokesmen and police said.

According to Bloomberg.com, TATP is one of the most sensitive explosives in the world because of its reactivity to heat, impact and friction and has been linked to various terrorist incidents.

The men were hired by a sub-contractor conducting routine maintenance work on one of the plant's three reactors. That reactor, number two, was not online.

Precautionary measures

Reactor one was shut down overnight to allow police to search the premises after it had cooled down, Oskarshamn plant chief executive Lars Thuring said.

The move was "precautionary" since the two men had security clearance to enter the area near that reactor building too, Thuring added.

Police spokesman Sven-Erik Karlsson said the two men had declined an offer to have a lawyer present during questioning and were held on the lower degree of suspicion.

Incriminating material

Police in Kalmar also reported that further incriminating material was found during searches of the suspects' houses, but did not release details.

It was this discovery that prompted police explosives experts to search the plant.

A plant spokesman said in a radio interview Thursday morning that the search was continuing and so far had turned up nothing suspicious.

The plant is operated by the energy groups E.ON of Germany and Finland's Fortum and produces about 10 percent of Sweden's electricity.

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