By Owen O’Donnell
The critically lauded American investigative journalist and author, Eric Schlosser is to visit Scotland next year to highlight the inherent design flaws in the Trident nuclear missile system at Faslane.
Schlosser, who in his last trip revealed the secrecy he encountered when asking the UK Government for information related to incidents involving Trident, will reveal more information relating to safety at the Faslane facility on the Clyde.
Among his most recent work was the release of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety in September of last year which looked at the accidents and dangerous near misses caused by nuclear weapons since the Cold War.
News of the author’s planned trip was welcomed by Moray MP and SNP Defence spokesperson, Angus Robertson.
Mr Robertson said: “He [Schlosser] raised his concerns during a visit recently and will be back with more evidence about safety at Faslane, as people come to decide how they will vote in the referendum in September. The concerns surround design flaws and safety problems about the warheads in the nuclear missiles systems.”
He added: “Trident is an immoral system of mass destruction dumped on the Clyde half an hour from Scotland’s biggest centre of population. It is vastly expensive and designed for the Cold War targets of the 1980s and there are now- as we are about to hear again from Eric Schlosser – serious questions about the design and safety of the warheads.”
Schlosser initially raised concerns with the safety of Trident in an appearance on Channel 4 news in October, stating that when submitting freedom of information requests to the British government while researching for his book, that it was “even more secretive” about accidents or potentially fatal incidents in the United Kingdom than in the United States.
He also made an appearance on the BBC Scotland radio show, Good Morning Scotland, in October to voice his concerns with the Trident missiles.
Talking specifically about the design flaws of the warheads, Schlosser said: “…it’s a very unusual missile, in most ballistic missiles traditionally, the warheads were put on top of the missile, and with Trident the warheads surround the third stage rocket engine and that rocket engine uses a fuel that easily explodes if it’s dropped, if there’s a fire. So the risk is not zero, and the risk needs to be, I think, honestly addressed in any discussion about these weapon systems.”
Westminster recently provoked an angry reaction from the Scottish Government after revealing in a report published in December that new contracts worth £79 million were to be announced on the next step of building a new fleet of submarines to be equipped with the Trident missiles.
Mr Robertson repeated the sentiments felt at Holyrood on the issue of Trident and this year’s referendum by saying: “If there is No vote we will continue in the grip of the Westminster system with governments we don’t vote for and policies imposed against the will of the Scottish people, such as the obscenity of Trident nuclear weapons dumped near our biggest city.
“The opportunity of the referendum is an opportunity to get rid of Trident once and for all and create the prosperous and fair society we all want for Scotland.”