The UK and the US are set to join hands to test the resilience of their respective nuclear infrastructure to terrorist attacks. Later in the year, the two countries will simulate a cyberattack on a nuclear power plant to test the preparedness of the government in dealing with such attacks.
Government sources, who revealed the joint cooperation plans, clarified the exercise was part of "prudent planning" and was not prompted by any threat of an imminent attack. "It gives us the ability to test these systems, and make sure that we learn any lessons," the sources were quoted as saying by The Guardian.
The announcement comes as UK Prime Minister David Cameron flies to Washington to attend the two-day Nuclear Security Summit that begins on 31 March. US President Barack Obama is convening the fourth summit, which is expected to focus on safeguarding domestic nuclear systems.
During the summit, Cameron is set to share UK's expertise in dealing with cybercrime, even as Japan, Korea, Turkey and Argentina have expressed interest in working jointly with the UK. The prime minister will also commit to a £10b ($14.33b) contribution in 2016 for agencies like the International Atomic Energy Agency, so as to improve the safety of nuclear facilities across the globe.
In a statement issued ahead of the summit, Obama said, "Thursday in Washington, I'll welcome more than 50 world leaders to our fourth Nuclear Security Summit to advance a central pillar of our Prague Agenda: preventing terrorists from obtaining and using a nuclear weapon. We'll review our progress, such as successfully ridding more than a dozen countries of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
"Given the continued threat posed by organizations such as the terrorist group we call ISIL, or ISIS, we'll also join allies and partners in reviewing our counterterrorism efforts, to prevent the world's most dangerous networks from obtaining the world's most dangerous weapons".