More than 500 ‘nuclear safety events’ recorded at Faslane since 2006

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More than 500 safety events have been recorded at the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent since 2006, the MoD has revealed.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew disclosed the figure in a letter in response to a parliamentary question from Edinburgh SNP MP Deidre Brock.

In total, 505 “events” were recorded over the past 12 years at HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, home to most of the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet.

In the letter he states: “These events may be near-misses, equipment failures, human error or procedural failings.

“They are raised, however minor they may appear, to encourage a comprehensive, robust reporting culture, undertake learning from experience and to take early corrective action.”

There were two Category A incidents listed from 2006 and 2007.

The letter states that Category A events have “actual or high potential for radioactive release to the environment of quantities in excess of IRR99 notification limits”.

However, the minister said that in “neither event was any radiological contamination evident”.

He continued: “None of the events caused harm to the health of any member of staff on the Naval Base, or to any member of the public.”

He said that the MoD takes all incidents, no matter how minor, “extremely seriously” and that they are investigated with appropriate measure put in place.

The figures show an increase in recorded incidents in recent years with 80 in 2016 and 73 last year.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: “When the MoD took the decision to censor annual nuclear safety reports which had previously been made public, we feared that safety at Faslane was worsening.

“While we welcome a return to a degree of transparency, the figures in the defence minister’s letter confirms our fears, revealing a catalogue of accidents in the last three years.

“Many of these incidents involved the Trident submarines which carry Britain’s nuclear weapons.

“The incidents add to the dire warnings in September’s Public Accounts Committee report which revealed serious infrastructure problems, including huge delays and overspending.

“We hope to see a return to annual reports of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator being made available to the public and more transparency in general.

“This information is a requirement in a functioning democracy.”

Ms Brock said: “Discovering that there is a succession of safety failures, more than one a week in recent years, really brings home how dangerous Faslane is.

“We’ve got the world’s most dangerous weapons but they seem to be under the control of the Keystone Cops.

“It took six months for the MoD to count up how many incidents there had been, six months to tell me how bad it’s been.

“One bad mistake at Faslane could be the end of all of us and it’s way past time that those weapons were removed from Scotland.

“We need to see fast action from the MoD to get Faslane back in order. It’s only luck that has saved us so far, we can’t keep on trusting to it.”

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