Nicola Sturgeon has told nuclear defence workers that the SNP’s policy of ending Trident will be matched by a commitment to provide new jobs. The First Minister also met Unite boss Len McCluskey for the first time and gave him an assurance that the SNP supports the union’s call for a diversification strategy to accompany any measure to scrap nuclear weapons.
The UK’s nuclear power programme is driven by military demands, but not in the way you might think. The most essential need is not for plutonium or tritium, but for a nuclear industrial sector to design, build and maintain the reactors that power nuclear submarines. Without them, the Trident missile system would have no military credibility.
The nuclear safety regime at the Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife has been called into question after an emergency exercise failed to demonstrate adequate arrangements for rescuing casualties from an accident. The UK government’s nuclear safety watchdog has ordered Babcock, the multinational company that runs the dockyard for the Royal Navy, to rerun the exercise, codenamed Nightstar, in March because of mistakes made last September. An inspection by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) concluded that there were flaws in the way that staff looked after injured people during the exercise. There were also communication and command problems in dealing with the imagined accident. The revelation has prompted “unease” about safety at the naval base, according to the local MP. Anti-nuclear campaigners have highlighted the serious risks of accidents,