Belgium's nuclear plants to get own anti-terrorist unit

A new police unit will be in charge of surveillance of buildings such as embassies, courts and tribunals, and nuclear plants.
A new police unit will be in charge of surveillance of buildings such as embassies, courts and tribunals, and nuclear plants.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgium's two nuclear power plants will be guarded by a special armed anti-terrorist unit from early next year, a spokeswoman for Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Friday (Sept 9).

"We have decided to create a new police unit which will be in charge of surveillance of buildings such as embassies, courts and tribunals and nuclear plants," the spokeswoman told AFP.

The force, comprising around 1,660 armed police officers, will be deployed within the next few months.

Nuclear plants in Belgium were placed under guard by 140 military personnel as part of an anti-terrorist plan following the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

Belgium also temporarily boosted its security at nuclear plants after the March 22 attacks on Brussels's airport and metro system.

In February, investigators probing the Paris attacks found video footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official at the property of a key suspect.

The reinforced security is "not a response to a concrete threat," said a spokesperson for Engie Electrabel.

"It has been in the planning for months and is part of our continued improvement of security at our sites."