From The Papers

February 2017

The Scottish government is expected to make a statement this week on the transportation of radioactive material from a Highlands airport. Highly-enriched uranium was transferred from Dounreay, near Thurso, to the USA via Wick John O’Groats Airport in 2016. The transfers were made following a deal agreed by UK and US governments. The airport, 30 miles from Dounreay, is run by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial), a public corporation owned by Scottish ministers. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority provided Hial with funding to upgrade the airport in preparation for the US flights. Further flights of the material, in exchange for a type of uranium from the US used to diagnose cancer, are expected in the future. Highlands Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie has raised concerns about the suitability of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the Scottish government. The MSP does not believe the airport.


A restricted internal Ministry of Defence report has strongly criticised an investigation into major security lapses at a secret nuclear weapons site. The report was produced following an investigation into allegations that MoD police officers protecting the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s site at Burghfield, Berkshire, where the warheads for the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent are assembled and maintained, were failing to conduct routine patrols and sleeping on the job. It suggests that junior staff were made scapegoats for the lapses while senior managers avoided sanction and remained in their posts. After the authorities were alerted by a whistleblower in 2013, the MoD claimed that “at no point was the security of the site or its nuclear assets compromised”. It set up Operation Pease, conducted by the MoD police force’s professional standards department, to investigate the incident.