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Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 11:55 GMT
TA anti-terror guard considered
Territorial army soldiers
The TA could provide a boost to anti-terrorist measures
Territorial Army (TA) members could be deployed to defend key UK targets, including nuclear plants, in the wake of the US terror attacks, it has been reported.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that a wider role for the TA was one of the options being considered as part of an armed forces review ordered in the light of the 11 September attacks.

The TA might now be used in a similar way to the US National Guard to provide armed patrols at installations considered at risk, the Independent on Sunday reported.

The plans follow indications from Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon last month that the UK's military capabilities may need to be "rebalanced" to counter the new threat of "asymmetric" warfare generated by so-called terrorist "superpowers".

Mr Hoon told the Independent on Sunday: "I certainly think there may emerge from this review a greater role for a military presence within the UK.

"I would not want to use regular forces for that purpose. I can see the TA may be involved in that."

He added: "I recognise as a result of September 11 we are in a very different situation and we have to take appropriate measures."

Nuclear warning

Britain's nuclear installations, such as Sellafield in Cumbria, would be considered key targets of any potential terrorist threats.

Such a threat was underlined by a warning last week from the International Atomic Energy Agency calling for tighter security worldwide.

It also warned of the need to ensure that terrorists did not get hold of radioactive materials used in hospitals and laboratories.

The United States has imposed "no fly zones" around its nuclear installations.

France's increased security measures include surface-to-air missiles near its nuclear plant at Cap la Hague.

Britain says security and safety at civil nuclear sites are being reviewed since the US attacks, but refuses to detail what steps are being taken.

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See also:

03 Oct 01 | Scotland
Army warning over letter hoax
09 Jul 98 | UK Politics
Territorial Army in line for shake-up
31 Oct 01 | Americas
US steps up nuclear security
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