The Ministry of Defence has begun spending £1.3 billion as part of plans for 14 major new developments at the Trident nuclear bases on the Clyde in Scotland. Details released under the Freedom of Information act show MoD plans to complete a “nuclear infrastructure” project at Faslane by 2027, and at Coulport by 2030.
The total cost of replacing Trident, estimated to be at least £205 billion including maintenance costs, looks set to rise, while fears are also growing about the safety of Trident.
The body which monitors nuclear safety – the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator – has recently been censored by the Ministry of Defence. For the past 10 years the regulator has published annual reports exploring issues including staff shortages at nuclear sites and nuclear accidents. However, reports for 2015 and 2016 have been blocked by the MoD.
Retired MoD nuclear expert, Fred Dawson, was quoted in the Sunday Herald saying: “The obvious conclusion to draw is that there is something to hide.”
Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said:
“As the MoD spends vast amounts on Trident infrastructure, the enormously wasteful expense of Trident is laid bare. Each billion represents schools and hospitals that could have been built but won’t because of the disastrous decision of the government to plough ahead with replacing an out-of-date nuclear weapons system that will not deliver real security.
“Earlier in the year, we learnt that the government covered-up a failed Trident missile test. This crucial information was held back while MPs were deciding on the future of Trident in a Parliamentary vote in 2016.
“The latest MoD decision to withhold information about safety, that is likely, on past experience, to include nuclear submarines, military nuclear sites and nuclear warhead convoys, shows that this unhealthy and dangerous culture of secrecy is worsening. How can politicians identify major safety issues if this information is not available and how will the public hold them to account?”