Whistleblower from Trident submarine leaks catalogue of safety and security failings
Report says nuclear weapons could have been detonated through accident and malpractice
Describes Trident as the “biggest threat to the UK” – with a nuclear explosion likely through accident or terrorist attack
Trident is the single biggest threat to UK security. That is the conclusion of a leaked report from submariner William McNeilly, after serving on board HMS Victorious – which is armed with Trident nuclear missiles.
Able Seaman McNeilly is now on the run following his decision to expose what he saw as potentially catastrophic safety and security failings which could cause a nuclear explosion in dock in Faslane, Scotland, or near the UK on patrol.
The report echoes other investigations into nuclear near-misses such as Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control – which uncovered US failings over the past 50 years which almost caused the deaths of millions in US cities.
The litany of safety and security failings in the McNeilly report included, among others:
- ID cards were rarely checked
- Bags and equipment from contractors and crew not searched and left near nuclear missiles
- Nuclear missile compartment used as a gym by crew – and personal portable electronics used (including bluetooth) near nuclear missiles
- High humidity levels in nuclear reactors – with water dripping onto electrics
- Unauthorised access to Top Secret information, including navigation information
- David Cameron and top brass kept in dark about how bad practices and conditions are
- Exam results made up and cheating in crucial tests
- Missile launch tests failed
- High risk of nuclear explosion from malpractice or terrorist infiltration – against which the security practices were risible
CND’s General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
‘Make no mistake: these are damning charges against the UK’s nuclear weapons system. While Trident is supposed to keep us safe: this report paints a nightmarish picture of just how close we may have come to the UK’s own nukes causing the greatest catastrophe this country has ever seen.
‘If David Cameron and other top brass have been kept in the dark about awful security practices and potentially cataclysmic safety failings, this shows that this government just doesn’t know what it’s dealing with.
‘Trident isn’t the ultimate insurance policy. The report even claims the submarine failed three launch tests – meaning it couldn’t have fired if it had wanted to. Maintaining nuclear weapons means playing with fire – and that is exactly what David Cameron is doing.
‘If one of the UK’s nuclear-armed submarines was to explode in dock it would be the responsibility of those who have argued that we need to keep nuclear weapons because we live in an uncertain world. Well this is one certainty: Trident is a disaster waiting to happen.
‘If true, this report isn’t a whistleblower calling for better safety practices for the UK’s nuclear weapons: it is the final whistle being blown on Trident.’