TRAINS carrying nuclear waste through Stratford are "hugely vulnerable" to a terrorist attack, according to environmental pressure group Greenpeace.

In a letter to West Ham MP Lyn Brown, the organisation cited a recent study by nuclear expert John Large, which said that the security on such trains was "minimal".

This is despite reports that detailed information about nuclear installations and materials were discovered during an anti-terror raid following the London bombings last July.

Two trains a week, operated by Direct Rail Services and manned by regular rail personnel, currently run through Stratford from Sizewell power station on their way to Sellafield processing plant.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced a review of security, but Mr Large said the nuclear industry and its regulators were turning a blind eye to the dangers.

He also said local authorities were not currently required to prepare any emergency plans or inform the public of what to do in the event of a major incident.

Ms Brown asked Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman what assessment had been done of nuclear transportation security.

The minister responded by saying movements are in accordance with stringent regulations that were constantly reviewed in light of the prevailing threat.

"The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) is satisfied that the measures in place to prevent theft or sabotage are adequately robust," he added.

Emma Gibson of Greenpeace said: "Every week, highly dangerous radioactive waste goes straight through dozens of London train stations and these ridiculously hazardous cargoes go straight past homes and schools.

"Anyone can see that these trains are a potential terrorist target. Thousands of Londoners could be exposed to cancer-causing radiation in the event of a terrorist outrage, and whole areas may have to be evacuated.

"Yet despite this, it looks like the Government is hell-bent on building even more nuclear power stations, which would mean even more nuclear waste transported through the capital.

"There is no reason why the trains cannnot be stopped immediately. The waste should be disposed off on the Sizewell site."

A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry, which is responsible for the security of nuclear transportation, said: "It is essential for operational reasons that these movements of nuclear material continue.

"Information about the timing of nuclear transports is restricted in order to maintain the appropriate level of security required.

"The nuclear generators and the nuclear rail freight operator make every effort to randomise times and days of the week for movements of nuclear material by rail.

"Used nuclear fuel has been safely transported throughout the UK for around 40 years. Transportation of any nuclear material would not take place if a serious level of threat were to emerge.

"The OCNS is kept fully briefed about terrorist threat intelligence and in turn keeps security arrangements under review at all times."