GLASGOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – An internal UK Ministry of Defense report has revealed there have been over 260 nuclear safety incidents at its naval facilities in western Scotland over the past five years.
The report worryingly details a series of “false alarms and system failures” related to the computer systems that monitor nuclear warheads.
The document also states that a problem with a lightning protection system located at an explosives depot at the Faslane nuclear base remains unresolved.
The ministry was quick to dismiss their own report, which blamed human error for three quarter of the incidents. "It is entirely misleading to focus only on the number of reports," a ministry spokesman said.
“Our comprehensive reporting system purposely captures even the most minor of incidents, which never pose a threat to the public or our personnel, to ensure all lessons are learned," the ministry added.
But anti-nuclear campaigners said the disclosures revealed a shocking attitude to safety at the British naval facilities.
Since 2008, 262 “nuclear safety events” were recorded at Faslane and Coulport. The report does not specify the exact nature of each incident, but does reveal the total number included radioactive contamination, small fires and human error and failures in system processes.
John Ainslie, coordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, told RIA Novosti “the report should be viewed alongside previous problems. The Ministry of Defense was criticized by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) a couple of years ago for their handling of radioactive waste and what these figures show that at a rate of roughly one a week we’re now having a nuclear safety incident at these facilities.”
Ainslie backed calls for the Scottish Government agency SEPA to have a greater role in monitoring activity at the naval bases.
Angus Robertson, a member of parliament and a spokesman on defense for the Scottish National Party (SNP), said the revelations would serve as a shock to the local community and the rest of Scotland.
“Yet again safety at Faslane is an issue. To have more than 50 nuclear safety events every year is simply unacceptable,” Robertson said.
The Ministry of Defense has confirmed plans to build a new explosives facility at Coulport, which will arm additional nuclear submarines with conventional torpedoes.
The SNP-led Scottish government has said it will demand the immediate removal of Britain’s entire nuclear submarine fleet from Scotland if a “yes” vote is secured in the upcoming referendum on independence to be held on September 18.