The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is suffering a severe and worsening shortage of skilled nuclear engineers that could threaten the safety of nuclear weapons and submarines on the Clyde. Official figures
released by the MoD reveal that one in 10 nuclear safety posts – both civilian and military – are vacant. The MoD’s own safety watchdog has warned that the staffing crisis poses “a significant threat to the safe delivery of the defence nuclear programme”. The revelations have been described as utterly shocking by the SNP’s Westminster defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP. “To find out there are so many vacancies in critical nuclear positions is totally unacceptable,” he told the Sunday Herald.
India – The BJP, which gained a landslide victory in the recent Indian elections, has signalled a re-thinking on the “no first use” policy. The first part of the party’s statement in the manifesto conveys the impression that India may abandon its non-first use stand. The second part, which talks of a credible deterrent, hints at continuity with its assured retaliation posture.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is receiving technical advice from several of the very companies that it is supposed to be monitoring, including the US engineering conglomerate Jacobs and the FTSE 100 stalwart Amec. This has led to accusations that the advice cannot be viewed as independent. ONR inspects nuclear sites across the country, including the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire and Hinkley Point civil energy reactors in Somerset.