SCOTLAND’S police force has been accused of harassing peace campaigners who followed a nuclear bomb convoy by road around Glasgow and Stirling.
A road accident involving a nuclear weapons convoy vehicle risks “flattening” large parts of Scotland and killing thousands of people, an SNP MP has claimed. Owen Thompson told the House of Commons that nuclear convoys frequently travel through his constituency of Midlothian and he said they pose “more of a risk” to people in the UK than terrorism. Nuclear warheads are transported on UK roads around once every two months between nuclear bases in Scotland to arms factories in Berkshire for general maintenance. The MP has called on the Ministry of Defence to bring an end to convoys in residential areas or risk a nuclear disaster which could see a “substantial loss of life”. However, an expert in nuclear security, Dr Robert Downes, told BuzzFeed News the risk of the kind of accident Thompson is fearful of is so small that it’s “hardly worth considering” and that only the “extremely unlikely” event of an aircraft crashing into a convoy could potentially set off a warhead.
Preventing a country’s production of nuclear materials that can be used in weapons is just one counter-proliferation measure. Another is to protect against current stockpiles falling into the wrong hands, or better yet, to ensure countries have nothing to steal by eliminating their stocks altogether. This has been the purpose of the international nuclear security summits that have been held every two years since 2010, the last of which will be held in Washington, DC, in March 2016. On these measures, Iran does not fare well. Of the 24 countries that had nuclear stockpiles of at least 1kg in 2015, Iran is second-worst in the world at securing these from theft.