The Government has admitted that secret documents regarding security at Britain's nuclear plants have gone missing, prompting fears that they could fall into the hands of terror groups.
The disclosure is made by the Office of Civil Nuclear Security, the £1.8m body set up to protect the country's nuclear facilities from terrorist attack or sabotage.
After the atrocities of 11 September 2001 there has been widespread concern that Britain's 31 nuclear plants could be targeted by groups such as al-Qa'ida. Sellafield in Cumbria and Dounreay in Caithness have been classified by the Government as "high risk", and security measures have been tightened, with £55m spent last year on protecting nuclear facilities.
But in a report to Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, OCNS outlines two serious security breaches within the past year.
In the first incident, the report says that two "protectively marked documents" relating to security at an undisclosed nuclear facility were lost. In a separate incident, a laptop computer containing sensitive information and belonging to an executive of a nuclear company was stolen from a London hotel.
The OCNS is still investigating the cases, but refused to say which nuclear facilities the information related to. It also refused to speculate whether the documents had fallen into the hands of suspected terror groups.
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: "In the light of these revelations, I will personally write to the Prime Minister asking for an explanation. This is clearly a matter of major concern."Reuse content