The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum will be holding a special seminar this Friday, 5th June in Renfrewshire House, Paisley to consider some of the serious allegations made by Trident whistleblower William McNeilly, and other key issues around the Trident nuclear weapons programme. (1)
The allegations made by Able Seaman William McNeilly of security lapses and key breaches of health and safety on Trident submarines based at Faslane was broken in the media by Sunday Herald Environment Editor, Rob Edwards. (2)
Rob Edwards will talk about the origins of this important story, the serious allegations made and the aftermath of issues that remain to be fully answered. In the NFLA’s view, the Ministry of Defence has not made a full, frank and open response to the allegations made by Able Seaman McNeilly, and it is looking forward to hearing from Rob Edwards about the detailed points made by McNeilly.
Amongst the most serious allegations made in McNeilly’s 18 page report are:
- Trident submarine HMS Victorious was dogged by equipment failures throughout the January – April 2015 patrol.
- 30 safety and security flaws occurred during this four month patrol.
- Safety procedures were disregarded, security procedures were casual and secret information was available to unauthorised personnel.
- HMS Vanguard failed to pass two critical tests intended to confirm whether it could have performed a successful Trident missile launch while on patrol.
- Problems caused by seawater entering the submarine’s hydraulic system prevented a test to ensure that the submarine’s missile hatches would open correctly and a ‘missile compensation test’ was failed three out of three times.
- The faults are so severe to question the UK’s ability to successfully launch a Trident nuclear weapon strike.
- Alarms that went off on the ‘Control and Monitoring Position’ were regularly ignored or muted.
- There was high risk of fire in a compartment which contains torpedoes.
The NFLA Scotland seminar will also discuss a number of other key issues around the Trident nuclear weapons programme, including:
- Bill Kidd, MSP and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, will consider the impact of the UK election result on the Trident replacement debate and the recent failure of the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference.
- CND Scotland Chair, Arthur West, will consider the ways the disarmament movement is seeking to build a cross-party coalition of support to oppose Trident replacement.
- Nukewatch Scotland Co-ordinator, Jane Tallents, will outline the groups concern of recent nuclear weapon road convoys to Faslane and Coulport taking place during periods of high winds and severe, inclement weather.
NFLA Scotland Convener Councillor Bill Butler said:
The recent allegations by Able Seaman William McNeilly about the safety and security of Trident submarines is of real concern to local councils and the local communities around the Faslane and Coulport bases. The inadequate response of the Ministry of Defence to his allegations makes it all the more important that NFLA is fully conversant with them, in order to raise legitimate safety concerns of an aging submarine programme. I look forward to hearing from the four seminar speakers about the key issues around the Trident weapons programme located in Scotland and how we can work with others to challenge the exorbitantly expensive replacement for it. I urge councillors to attend and find out more about these critical health, safety and ethical issues.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244 or 07771 930196.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA Scotland Seminar, Renfrewshire House, Paisley, 12.15pm – 2.30pm on 5th June 2015
(2) Sunday Herald, 17th May 2015
Further more detailed information on:
RobEdwards.com, 17th May 2015