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FOI records reveal nuclear warhead convoy safety faults

Categories: Articles:Peacemaking | Published: 27/08/2014 | Views: 1604
Brake failures, vehicle breakdowns, false alarms, and map-reading errors are among dozens of safety incidents which have plagued convoys carrying nuclear weapons and military special nuclear materials on Britain's roads over the last seven years, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.  (Nuclear Information Service)

>Brake failures, vehicle breakdowns, false alarms, and map-reading errors are among dozens of safety incidents which have plagued convoys carrying nuclear weapons and military special nuclear materials on Britain's roads over the last seven years, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (available to download at the bottom of this article).

70 individual safety incidents involving the convoy were recorded by the Ministry of Defence over the period between July 2007 to December 2012, according to records provided to Nukewatch by the Ministry following the request.  56 of these were classed as 'engineering incidents' and the remaining 14 as 'operational incidents'.

Convoys of Trident nuclear warheads  travel by road several times each year between the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire, where they are manufactured and maintained, and the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long in the west of Scotland, where they are stored and loaded onto Trident submarines.  Special nuclear materials – plutonium, tritium, and highly enriched uranium and components fabricated from these materials for use in the UK's nuclear weapons and submarine programmes - are also transported less frequently to and from the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

The most visible of the incidents recorded  occurred on Monday 25 July 2011, when a convoy command vehicle broke down near Junction 20 of the M6 motorway in Cheshire late in the afternoon.  Read more

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