The Office for Nuclear Regulation is investigating safety issues at the Devonport Dockyard’s 9 Dock. This is the site where part of Britain’s nuclear weapons system is being refurbished by Babcock International.

Last month we reported on the Ministry of Defence placing Babcock under scrutiny for its poor handling of a contract to support and refurbish the existing fleet of Trident submarines.

We suggested that safety issues could be expected after a report indicated that Babcock was experiencing financial difficulties. The Ministry of Defence also expressed concerns about work on the Vanguard submarines falling behind schedule.

It has now emerged that cranes that lift nuclear fuel at the dockyard have been halted amid a series of safety alerts. The latest quarterly report published by the ONR says there were two safety incidents in September and further incidents were reported in July 2017, as well as in June and August 2016.

Sara Medi Jones, acting general secretary of CND, said:

“It’s alarming these Trident safety issues keep arising. The Ministry of Defence must do everything it can to stop these worrying incidents. The reports remind us that no big project can be completely free of risks, but the issue with a nuclear weapons project is that the stakes are much higher if something goes wrong. No one wants to see a more fatal accident occurring.”