by Alex Docherty
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew revealed in a letter to SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith Deidre Brock, that more than 700 nuclear safety events have been recorded at Scotland’s nuclear bases since 2006.
These nuclear safety events of which there were 789 happened at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane and Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport between 2006 and 2018.
The 284 incidents which took place at Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport – where the nuclear warheads are stored and loaded onto the submarine, revealed in this letter had not previously been disclosed to the public.
In the letter, Conservative MP Stuart Andrew said: “I would wish to reiterate that the identification and reporting of these low-level events and near misses is actively encouraged in line with International Atomic Energy Agency guidance for protecting people and the environment… since such data can provide valuable lessons to help avoid more significant events.”
In response to parliamentary questions from Ms Brock, the Ministry of Defence revealed that there have been 22 fires on its nuclear armed or nuclear powered submarines since in less than 4 years since June 2015.
Ms Brock said. “It’s a shocking record of accidents and incidents in places where the most dangerous weapons on the planet are”
Ms Brock said: “We already knew that there were 505 nuclear safety events on board submarines while they were berthed at Faslane and now we find that there have been another 284 in other locations at Faslane and at Coulport where weapons are handled.
“One bad accident would be enough to wipe Scotland out and the safety record is appalling.
“Even the risks from the nuclear reactors on board submarines is too high”
Iona Soper, a Campaigner at the Scottish CND said: “The MoD have a vested interest in not necessarily making all of this information public, beyond that there is also a general sense that the public don’t understand how dangerous they are. Politicians have invented a whole language to talk about them [Nuclear Weapons] without talking about what they do.
“There is a permanent site of occupation, Faslane Peace Camp – there is always stuff going on at the Faslane Nuclear Base, if you want to do something about it and you want to feel like you are directly impacting on the situation, get yourself out to Faslane and spend some time there.”
“There are one million and one things that you can do with CND, we host regular meetings, Vigils and Movie Nights. We have several committees you can sit on, you can volunteer with us, you can become a member and influence the policy, and of course if you’re a member you can influence the work that we’re doing.
“If you don’t want to get involved with another organisation, even just writing letters to the Base, all of the information is available online in terms of who to address that too, write letters, photocopy them, send them ten times – encourage them to write letters. Bring [trident] up with your local representative, in Scotland we are in a unique position that our parliament is more or less already opposed to trident, but it is never a bad idea to keep on driving that home and reminding people.