The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has today published in full an internal Ministry of Defence report into submarine safety – challenging the Ministry’s attempts to conceal its contents after the document had been accidentally placed in the public domain.
The report makes clear that production schedules and the potential cost of testing new reactors are factors in considering what type of reactor to use on the Trident replacement submarines.
It also makes clear the MoD is pursuing sub-standard reactors on board the new Astute class of submarines but judges “it is clearly reasonably practicable to implement more significant improvements” for the Trident replacement submarine. The Ministry is now considering whether to pursue a new ‘PWR3’ reactor or a ‘PWR2b’ modification of the existing reactor. The report says “The delivery/schedule risk and associated cost [of a decision on the Trident replacement reactor] are the subject of current work.”
Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, said:
“This report has only come to light because of the tenacity of anti-nuclear campaigners seeking much-needed transparency on Trident replacement. The MoD wanted to keep this report secret because it exposes the fact they are continuing to use sub-standard nuclear reactors on their submarines and they are struggling to reach a decision on the type of Trident replacement sub to pursue because of scheduling and cost implications.”
“Not only does the MoD admit it is continuing to use sub-standard reactors on Astute submarines – putting both our environment and our submariners’ lives at risk – but they seem to be struggling to decide whether or not, as budgets tighten, to compromise on safety in order to save both time and money on the Trident replacement programme.”
“It is vital – in all our interests – that Dr Weightman’s review of nuclear safety includes nuclear reactors on board our submarines as well as in land-based power stations. It is also essential that Parliament is informed of the detail of this report in an open and transparent fashion.”
“The issue is clear: there can be no compromise on nuclear safety. And for increasing numbers of people across the country the solution is clear: no nuclear – whether weapons or energy.”