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Special Forces Counterterrorism Units to Guard Belgian Nuclear Power Plants

© REUTERS / Francois LenoirPolice at the scene of a security operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek in Brussels, Belgium
Police at the scene of a security operation in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek in Brussels, Belgium - Sputnik International
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Special counterterror forces will be permanently deployed to guard nuclear power plants in Belgium, local media reported Thursday.

A photo taken with a mobile phone on August 6, 2016, shows police securing the area around a police building in the southern Belgian city of Charleroi following a machete attack - Sputnik International
Machete Attack on Police in Belgium's Charleroi Act of Terrorism
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – In the past months, Belgian nuclear facilities have been guarded by a force of 140 army personnel.

According to the newspaper De Morgen, the government has decided to replace them with a special unit composed of federal police officers trained to intervene in the event of a terrorist attack.

The counterterror unit will be armed with semi-automatic weapons, and should be ready for deployment next year, the paper reported.

Security at Belgian NPPs is generally provided by unarmed personnel from private security firms. However, after the deadly March 22 attacks in Brussels, the government decided to increase security measures at the two country's two plants where its seven operating reactors are located. These, Brussels argues, could be targeted by terrorists; it sent military personnel to help guard the NPPs.

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