Two Arrested on Suspicion of Planning Sabotage in Sweden | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 21.05.2008
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Two Arrested on Suspicion of Planning Sabotage in Sweden

Two men were arrested on suspicion of planning sabotage at a nuclear power plant in south-eastern Sweden, police there said Wednesday.

Employees leaving the Oskarshamn plant

A spot security check detected explosives on a plant worker in Oskarshamn

The arrests took place Wednesday morning, after a security check revealed traces of an explosive in a bag used by a contract worker hired to carry out maintenance work at the plant, plant spokesmen and police said.

The man, a welder, was taken in for questioning and a 300-metre security cordon was also ordered, police spokesman Sven-Erik Karlsson told German news agency DPA, declining to offer details of what the interview had revealed. A second man was also arrested but police declined to describe his ties with the welder.

"Two Swedish men were arrested ... The prosecutor suspects them of sabotage," Karlsson of the Kalmar county police told reporters. Both men, he said, were contractors who had been working at the Oskarshamn nuclear plant "for some time."

Type of explosive unknown

One of the men, according to Karlsson, "had been carrying small amounts of the highly explosive material TATP." TATP, or triacetone triperoxide, is a highly explosive material which is extremely unstable, especially when subjected to heat, friction and shock.

Red flag with E.ON logo

An E.ON spokesman heralded the plant's security checks

Anders Osterberg, head of information at the nuclear plant, told DPA, however, that the tracing equipment used could detect gunpowder or ammunition traces as well as other chemicals, which had triggered the alert.

An E.ON spokesman in Dusseldorf, Germany earlier said these traces could have come from a gunshot during hunting, a common pastime in Sweden. He said the case simply showed that the security checks at the power plant were very effective.

Operating as usual

Oskarshamn, about 200 miles south of Stockholm, has three reactors. Two were operating as usual while a third was undergoing routine maintenance, plant spokesman Roger Bergman told DPA.

"No threats had been received and we can continue to operate as usual," Bergman said.

"Our joint assessment is that the security of the reactors was never threatened," a spokesman for OKG, the company which runs the plant, said.

Nuclear power accounts for nearly half of all electricity production in Sweden, which currently operates 10 nuclear reactors.

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