Government lists nuclear safety incidents

Nuclear bomb convoys that regularly pass through Scotland have suffered 67 safety incidents over the past seven years, sparking fears of a "catastrophic" accident.

Lists obtained by the Sunday Herald from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) reveal details of dozens of mechanical faults and equipment failures since 2000, as well as delays and diversions caused by anti-nuclear protests.

Incidents include numerous fuel leaks, a series of broken valves and several instances of engine and brake overheating. In October 2003, an axle began smoking due to "excessive use of wheel brakes" coming down a steep hill.

The MoD listed exactly 50 "engineering incidents to nuclear convoy vehicles" between January 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007. A second list disclosed 17 "operational incidents" over the same period.

The lists, which were released by the MoD under freedom of information legislation, do not usually specify where in the UK the incidents took place. According to the MoD, "minor unplanned events" and "trivial technical incidents" have been omitted. David Mackenzie, a spokesman for Nukewatch, which monitors the convoys, accused the government of putting people's lives at risk. "Transporting plutonium and high explosive in the same truck shows an incredible disregard for public safety," he said.

Nuclear convoys in 67 Scottish safety incidents: Government lists reveal litany of mishaps involving vehicles that carry weapons of mass destruction to Loch Long base (The Herald, 15 July 2007)