'I want to highlight the risks of nuclear submarines'

Trident nuclear weapons system
Trident nuclear weapons system
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The enormous risks posed by the existence of nuclear submarines and, most especially, by those used in the Trident nuclear weapons system, has once again been highlighted.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recorded more than 500 safety mishaps with nuclear submarines on the Clyde since 2006 – half of them in the last four years.

A letter, dated November 1, 2018, from Defence Minister Stuart Andrew, in response to a parliamentary question, quantifies all the nuclear events reported for submarines berthed or docked at Faslane from 2006 to 2017.

It discloses that there have been a total of 505 “nuclear site event reports” for nuclear-powered submarines based at Faslane over the last 12 years, including 259 on Trident submarines armed with nuclear missiles.

Overall, 23 incidents of these events were categorised as having a “high potential” for leaking radioactivity into the environment or within a submarine or building, and 148 incidents were said to have a “moderate potential for future release or exposure”.

The figures show a sharp increase in the number of reported incidents in the last three years, with annual totals doubling those in earlier years.

The years recording the highest number of incidents were 2015 with 65, 2016 with 80 and 2017 with 73.

As Deidre Brock MP, who asked the parliamentary question, says, there is “something very badly wrong” at Faslane.

“We’ve got the world’s most dangerous weapons but they seem to be under the control of the Keystone Cops … One bad mistake at Faslane could be the end of all of us”.

We need to rid ourselves of the risks posed by nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

Philip Gilligan

Cumbria and Lancashire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament