The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament condemned as ‘simply inexcusable’ the catalogue of nuclear safety failings revealed as a “recurring theme” at the Faslane submarine base near Glasgow, home to Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons submarines as well as most of the UK’s conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered subs.
The documents released by the MoD and SEPA – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, describe safety failings as a “recurring theme” and as ingrained in the base’s culture. The documents describe staff as being poorly trained, staffing levels as inadequate and a poor standard of maintenance afflicting safety systens – failings that have led to at least eight radioactive leaks in the last 10 years.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “These shocking revelations show a disregard for safety that is simply inexcusable. The combination of high-explosive weaponry and floating nuclear reactors should make it obvious that every safety precaution possible must be taken, but once again the MoD has been found lacking. Last year we found out that submarine sentries were literally sleeping on the job, now we find out that a radioactive waste manager had no qualifications in radioactive waste management and that the Navy doesn’t even know how much radioactivity it has released into the Clyde.”
“There must be no MoD exemption from the safety regime that every civilian nuclear site must follow. Any remaining public trust in the competence of the Faslane commanders will evaporate if the base isn’t put under the inspection and compliance regime of SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) immediately. The culture of secrecy surrounding these appalling safety breaches must come to an end – the MoD cannot be above the law when it comes to public safety.”
She continued, “The real solution is to scrap Trident – a call supported by the vast majority of the Scottish people, the Scottish Parliament and a majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster. Only this past weekend Blairite former minister Stephen Byers, previously a strong supporter of Trident, called for its replacement to be scrapped on economic grounds, whilst Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome website said an incoming Tory administration should delay the multi-billion pound plans, which the country can ill afford. Gordon Brown should bite the bullet and rid Britain of this £76bn white elephant.”