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MfP Chapter Secretary speaks about a report
detailing accidents in the UK’s nuclear weapons programme
February 23, 2017
Report from Mayors for Peace UK&Ireland Chapter
Mr. Sean Morris, the UK and Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter Secretary, was amongst the speakers at a cross-party Westminster launch of an important report considering incidents and accidents with various parts of the UK's nuclear weapons programme. The report was commissioned and published by the Nuclear Information Service, which seeks to increase openness and transparency in the UK's nuclear weapons programme.
The report presents the accident record of the UK’s nuclear weapons programme over its 65 year history, so as to remind the public of the risks posed by nuclear weapons and alert politicians and decision-makers of the need to eliminate these risks. The NIS report notes 110 accidents, near misses, and dangerous occurrences with the UK’s nuclear weapons programme. This includes 14 serious accidents relating to the production and manufacturing of nuclear weapons, 22 incidents in the road transport of nuclear weapons, 8 incidents with the storage and handling of nuclear weapons, 45 accidents to nuclear capable submarines, ships and aircraft, and 21 security-related incidents.
At the Parliamentary launch of the report, the Chapter Secretary outlined the concerns of local authorities about the risk of accidents involving the road transportation of nuclear weapons from the Atomic Weapons Establishments in Aldermaston and Burghfield to where Trident submarines are located at Coulport and Faslane, off the west coast of Scotland. He also referred to an informative ICAN UK report ‘The Nukes of Hazard’ which highlights the many risks of an accident involving a nuclear weapons convoy.
The Westminster event was attended by, amongst others, the Conservative Chair of the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee and the Scottish National Party's Defence Spokesperson, whose constituency covers the Faslane base. The event was chaired by a Labour MP who is a leading member of the Parliamentary CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) group. The report calls on the UK Government to introduce procedures for publicly reporting accidents involving nuclear weapons, place defence nuclear programmes under the external regulation of the Office for Nuclear Regulation and support an international ban on nuclear weapons to permanently eliminate the risks posed by accidents involving such weaponry.
Mayors for Peace welcomes the publication of this important report and encourages its members to read it.