UK nuclear convoy safety record shows 67 incidents in seven years
CONVOYS of nuclear material have suffered a total of 67 safety incidents over the past seven years in the UK, it emerged yesterday.
The Ministry of Defence revealed dozens of mechanical faults and equipment failures to the specialised transports since 2000, as well as delays and diversions caused by anti-nuclear protests.
Convoys of warheads for controversial Trident missiles travel by road between the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire and the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long, north-west of Glasgow.
Safety incidents recorded include fuel leaks, a series of broken valves and instances of engine and brake overheating.
One situation occurred in October 2003 when an axle began smoking due to “excessive use of wheel brakes” coming down a steep hill.
Another happened in February 2003, during which a bomb carrier’s clutch “became inoperative”, and in January 2005 a fuse box started smoking when a heated windscreen was switched on.
The transport convoys can involve ten or more vehicles and have been driven through 21 local authorities in Scotland.
The MoD listed 50 “engineering incidents” and 17 “operational incidents” between 1 January, 2000, and 30 June, 2007.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “These are not serious security failures, rather low-key mechanical issues that in all cases have been resolved quickly.”