Unmanned aerial systems have been recovered by security personnel after landing at UK nuclear bases, according to logs released by the government (Picture: Getty)
Drones have been seized by security personnel at nuclear facilities with one report of a ‘swarm’ at a UK installation, newly released files show.
The unmanned aerial systems were either sighted or secured at sites across the country amid concerns over the security threat posed by the technology.
Twenty such reports between 2020 and last year have been released to Metro.co.uk under the Freedom of Information Act. In two instances, the drones landed ‘in the area’ and were secured by personnel.
Multiple other reports were made of the aerial vehicles near facilities or nuclear objects such as reactors, boats and submarines.
Another of the one-line logs, which give few details and do not identify locations, reads: ‘Drone landed on site. Logged.’
Three instances were dealt with by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last year. Another report states: ‘Red light over area, sounded like a drone.’
Sightings made by members of the public were also recorded. One report reads: ‘Member of public saw white van and a male, stated also observed two lights in the sky and believed they were drones.’
A passing detail in another response shows there was a report of a swarm – where interlinked drones take part in the same operation or attack – at a nuclear licensed site in the UK.
The incident took place between January 2014 and July 2020, according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which gave no further details.
The reports come at a time of heightened tensions between the West and China and Russia, which have each been linked to concerted physical and cyber spying operations in the UK.
The widespread availability of drones has had ramifications for the UK’s critical infrastructure (Picture: Richard Newstead/Getty)
In April, a source told the Sunday People that Chinese spies in the UK have been targeting ‘very sensitive establishments’, such as military bases and nuclear power stations, with the aerial systems.
Peter Burt, who has studied drone use and is part of the Nukewatch monitoring network, wants the UK authorities to provide a fuller picture of the incidents and the potential threats posed.
Mr Burt told Metro.co.uk: ‘There have certainly been cases of coordinated swarms of drones spotted flying over nuclear facilities in other countries, for example in France and the United States, so this raises questions about the security of our own nuclear facilities. I think it’s a legitimate question to ask whether similar incidents have occurred in this country and, if they have, who do we think is behind them?
‘I have had scant information back from the Ministry of Defence when I have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests about this issue and I think there is a clear public interest in more information being disclosed.’
The nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in Somerset is among the UK’s critical infrastructure …read more