Aldermaston Weapons Establishment (AWE) is to remain in “special measures” for the third year running because of its failure to improve on it safety procedures. AWE Aldermaston and the Devonport naval base, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear powered submarines are maintained and refitted, are both listed as safety priorities in an assessment published by the Office for Nuclear Regulator (ONR) as part ofits Annual Report for 2014/15. The assessment identifies eight sites where ONR considers that additional ‘special measures’ are needed because of their radiological hazards and below par safety performance.
Once again Trident emerges as a key flag issue that establishes where candidates for the Labour leadership election stand. Andy Burnham has perhaps the most difficult task, being deeply sceptical about nuclear weapons personally but claiming that current international instability, and particularly Russian threats to European security means it is not now the time for Britain to consider abandoning the weapons. This was much the same conclusion reached by the BASIC Trident Commission last year. This of course begs the question of when the right time is.
Debates over Trident and energy policy are rarely joined up. But are there deeper links between Britain’s nuclear deterrent and its commitment to nuclear power? …The new secretary of state for energy, Amber Rudd, recently confirmed her enthusiasm for what is arguably the most expensive infrastructure project in British history: the Hinkley Point C power station. At the same time, a decision is pressing on a similarly eyewatering commitment to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent. …. The almost total silence on these connections raises crucial implications for democracy.