Thursday, 13 October 2016

Nuclear warhead transport hazards have got worse

Letter sent to The Western Mail:

Your chief political correspondent, Martin Shipton, does the people of Wales a service in exposing the secret transport of military nuclear materials through or over  many Welsh council areas.(Nuclear weapons material passes through or over 13 council areas in Wales: Politicians are demanding the Ministry of Defence explains why (13 October)[]

In fact concern over such transports in the UK  have been raised in Parliament  by Welsh and other MPs for a quarter of a century.

For example, former Plaid MP Cynog Dafis – for whom I then did some specialist research - was told in a series of replies by the Ministry of Defence in May 1993:

“The Public Information for Radiation Emergencies Regulations 1992 require that prior information be supplied to members of the public who are likely to be in an area in which they are liable to be affected by a reasonably foreseeable radiation emergency. In the case of nuclear weapon transport, the likelihood of an accident affecting any individual member of the public is so extremely remote that prior supply of information is not required. “(Radiation Warnings, Hansard, 20 May 1993)

Earlier in the same month, the MOD refused to reveal the “secret emergency plans dealing with nuclear weapon transport accidents” (Hansard,  Nuclear Weapons Transport, 6 May 1993

A month earlier, the MOD told Nigel Jones M: “ Regular exercises of varying scale are sponsored by the Ministry of Defence to enable departmental and other staffs to practise the response to a nuclear transport accident,” adding  “Local civil police forces are always notified at least 24 hours in advance of nuclear weapon convoy movements through their area of responsibility. It is the accepted practice nationally that the civil police will co-ordinate the response of the other emergency services to all serious incidents and they would fulfil this same role in the event of an accident involving a nuclear weapon convoy.(Nuclear Weapons, Hansard,  1 April 1993)

A new report, “Nukes of Hazard” on these important safety  and security matters, demonstrating how the dangers have increased since these MPs raised questions in Parliament,  has just been released by the UK chapter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and may be accessed via this web site:

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