In the last five years there have been 316 “nuclear safety events”, 2,044 fire alarms and 71 fires at the Royal Navy’s controversial facilities at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh. There have also been over 3,000 “near miss” industrial accidents, a positive test for illegal drugs and a series of difficulties with wild animals.
The revelations have been described as “chilling” by the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster and defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP. He is planning to raise them urgently in the House of Commons, and is demanding action from the MoD.
The new figures showed that nuclear safety breaches at the Clyde bases were “widespread”, he said. “Wherever nuclear weapons are concerned safety must be paramount. We need to know exactly what is being done to address these breaches and tighten procedures.”
The panoply of problems at the home of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system has been disclosed by the MoD’s last four annual health and safety reports covering 2009-10 to 2012-13. They were requested by the Sunday Herald under freedom of information law in January and released last week.