The 2010 report of the Defence Environment and Safety Board (http://bit.ly/inRKeQ) the MoD’s senior environment and safety panel, which reports to Ministers on safety matters, has found that there had been “little evidence of improvement since last year”, with a “lack of real progress” and “potential for degradation from numerous change programmes”.
On the Trident system, it notes “increasing pressures on manpower and some equipment fragility” in keeping the Vanguard submarines, which carry Trident missiles, constantly on patrol. It says that nuclear safety standards have been “further aggravated by constraints on regulatory capacity“.
The condition of the MoD’s explosives is a “primary concern” and the report notes that civilian contractors are able to handle, access and control military explosives on MOD establishments without making applications to relevant authorities in a timely manner. Changes in company ownership have rendered existing explosives handling licences void and led to exemptions being granted by the police when they are not valid.
The Atomic Weapons Establishment, which runs Aldermaston and Burghfield, is to lead a commercial alliance with Babcock and Lockheed Martin, which will take over operation of the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport from February 2012. It will manage Trident nuclear warheads and missiles stored at on Loch Long.
The Ministry of Defence will remain in overall charge, with the Naval Base Commander retaining responsibility for nuclear activities, explosive safety policy, security and emergency management planning. The ABL consortium will be responsible for processing, handling, and storage of Trident warheads and missiles and operations on the Explosives Handing Jetty.
STOP NEW NUCLEAR BUILD!
The government has confirmed eight sites for the new nuclear power stations: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey. All are adjacent to existing sites.
There will be a blockade at Hinkley Point on 3rd October.
The website http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/npscampaign.php gives 50 reasons for opposing nuclear power. Please visit it and, write to your MP.
The Guardian, 30.6, revealed the latest nuclear power scandal. Its reporters had seen e-mails which showed that the government had worked with the nuclear industry to restrict bad news from the Fukushima disaster, thus protecting the plans to expand nuclear power production.
The arguments about subsidies continue. The government has been forced to remove a clause from its Energy Bill which could have reduced the risks for those investing in nuclear power. Friends of the Earth, and others, said it didn’t reduce risk, but simply transferred it from nuclear companies to the taxpayer.