UK defence Minister Philip Hammond has today [Thursday] revealed that there had been a significant incident at the naval prototype reactor in Dounreay in 2012. Part of the cladding which covers the fuel core failed, releasing radiation into the cooling circuit.
As a result the MOD are going to refuel HMS Vanguard and probably HMS Victorious, because they are no longer confident that they can keep them in service without refuelling.
Commenting, Veterans Minister, Keith Brown, said:
“It is totally unacceptable that for almost two years the UK Government failed to notify Scottish Ministers on such an important issue.
“The Ministry of Defence, who are responsible for the regulation of operations and safety at Vulcan, informed SEPA of this situation in the summer of 2012 and requested that they were not to make this information more widely known for security reasons.
“SEPA’s role is to highlight potential for adverse wider environmental impact and I can reassure the public that they have not identified any, but will continue to closely monitor the situation.
“UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne eventually notified Richard Lochhead of the situation shortly in advance of the UK Government’s parliamentary statement today. There is no excuse for UK Ministers not picking up the phone and alerting us to this situation two years ago and I have today written to Philip Hammond seeking an early meeting to ensure such disrespect is never shown again.
“The announcement today once again reminds us of the exorbitant cost of maintaining Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, particularly at a time of severe budget cuts from Westminster. With independence Scotland will scrap unwanted nuclear weapons from our shores and instead invest the billions of pounds saved on Scotland’s vital public services.”