The Royal Navy’s new nuclear-powered submarines have been plagued by 69 safety incidents and “near misses” over the last four years. The Astute class of submarines based at Faslane on the Clyde has seen reported reactor incidents at sea or on shore almost double from 12 in 2014 to 21 in 2015. Though the MoD insists that the incidents are all minor, critics warn that they undermine the boats’ reliability and safety. According to the independent nuclear engineer John Large, the submarines were suffering serious problems. “This continuing experience of the Astute class reactor problems not only imperils the boats when at sea but is likely to result in cutbacks to the number of patrols, voyage durations and the extent of roaming of the high seas,” he said.
A Cumbrian MP has criticised a suggestion to scrap nuclear submarines in favour of cheaper airborne alternatives. Reports claim that the Labour party is considering backing a plan to replace Trident submarines with nuclear-armed planes. … The plan would see the Barrowbuilt submarines scrapped and replaced with a new system that would see nuclear weapons dropped from the air by specially-adapted fighter planes.
NW Evening Mail
The Ministry of Defence has come under fierce fire for removing radiation warning signs from the nuclear convoys that regularly trundle Scotland’s roads. The well-known trefoil symbol indicating hazardous radioactivity is no longer used on lorries transporting plutonium or highly enriched uranium for bombs. According to the MoD, this is so it can maintain its policy “to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons.
Trident: How the banks have their fingers on the button: While thousands were holding meetings and demonstrations throughout the country at the end of February, CommonSpace columnist Steve Topple issued a timely report on the finance behind nuclear weapons. He started in the House of Lords, and discovered that over 15% have what can be deemed as ‘vested interests’ in either the corporations involved in the programme or the institutions that finance them, and this is just for our nuclear capability – one suspects the percentage for defence in general would be higher. Citing a report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), he pointed out that 41 UK-based financial insitutions (including the Cooperative Bank, HSBC and Barclays) invest directly in the nuclear weapons system. The list also includes companies whose ownership is elsewhere – or example in:
Russia. The Royal Bank of Scotland (currently 84% publicly owned) invests in ten companies which are involved in Trident and also finances Russia’s VEB bank – which invests in Russia’s nuclear deterrents, and also in Trident. Another Russian company involved in Trident is the Rostec State Corporation (an umbrella company for 663 other organisations, mainly military) which owns and is part-financed by Novikombank – which in turnis financed by Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Barclays. Steve Topple’s conclusion: The whole nuclear weapons industry is a con of epic proportions. We, the public, are being deceived left, right and centre into allowing fraudulent governments to squander our money on something which merely serves to inflate the wealth of those involved.