SA spies suspect China behind nuke facility break-ins

2015-02-26 09:31

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Cape Town - South African spies suspect China was behind a series of break-ins at a nuclear facility near Hartbeespoort Dam, secret documents leaked to Al Jazeera state.

It is also suspected that Chinese agents stole technology in order to gain an advantage in a new kind of nuclear power generation, the cables further showed.

The 2007 robbery, in which a senior emergency officer was shot in the chest, was dismissed by South Africa’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency as a "a burglary attempt".

The head of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) played it down as just "a piece of random criminality".

South Africa’s spies conclude that China had dispatched the two groups of armed men  who cut through a fence surrounding the nuclear facility, disabled alarms and shot the emergency officer who had come upon them.

The attackers escaped with a laptop computer stolen from a control room.

Al Jazeera reports that soon after the break-in, China went ahead with the development of new technology that was being researched at Pelindaba, known as a Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, despite starting its project a year later than South Africa - which abandoned its own pebble-bed plans in 2010, citing a lack of investor interest.

See US news agency CBS's report on the break-in:

- For more on the spy cables, click here, or see Al Jazeera.

Read more on:    necsa  |  al jazeera  |  ssa  |  pretoria  |  china  |  nuclear  |  media  |  spy cables

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