It’s the kind of news that doesn’t boost public confidence, but it has surfaced that the managers of one of Sweden’s nuclear power plants used their janitors to guard the highly sensitive facility. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, the nation’s nuclear watchdog group, condemned the incident at the Oskarshamn plant for the obvious reason that janitors are not properly trained to act as security guards.
The AP news service reported that for a week in early October, around 25 maintenance and cleaning staff were placed on guard duty around the nuclear plant’s perimeter because the security system was malfunctioning. Newly installed motion sensors in the outer fence were not working, though the surveillance cameras and other security equipment were operational.
The nuclear plant managers’ decision was not taken well by the watchdog group. In their report, they stated “OKG’s decision to use non-security-educated personnel violates the company’s internal routines. It is particularly serious since the routine deviation has been going on for a long time.” They also criticised the managers for not properly documenting their decision to place cleaning staff to guard the outer perimeter of a nuclear power plant, suggesting they were hiding the incident.
For its part, Oskarshamn power plant said it was taking the criticism seriously and felt that since the inner fence’s security was working fine, placing janitors to monitor the outer fence wasn’t as dangerous as it seems on face value.