Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteer patrols around Britain (finding out how nuclear weapons are assembled and driven round the country in convoys), dedicated ‘Nuke Watch’ teams track where nuclear convoys carrying nuclear warheads are transported around six times a year, from Aldermaston in Berkshire to Coalport in Scotland.
The MOD wants to keep the convoys secret. However heavy transport, accompanied by security and fire trucks, comprising 20 vehicles, raises their profile as they drive up and down our country’s motorways.
A You Gov opinion poll found that two-thirds of the population know nothing of convoys carrying nuclear warheads passing through their communities, with the risks posed from road accidents, releasing leaks of radioactive material.
The MOD states the convoys are safe, but emergency exercises run by the MoD practise disaster scenarios in which multiple crashes lead to fires, explosions and release of radioactive contamination.
Post-mortems of exercises reveal the MoD and the emergency services would have serious difficulties dealing with such disasters.
The MoD has confessed to eight real accidents involving nuclear convoys between 1960 and 20015.
In response to requests under freedom of information law, it has given outline details of a further 180 safety incidents that have plagued convoys in the years between 2000 and 2016.
Convoys have crashed, broken down, got lost, brakes have failed, fuel has leaked, together with a range of mechanical failures.
Human error and computer software glitches have all been blamed.
According to the MoD’s internal safety watchdog: “The UK’s nuclear weapons programme is suffering a chronic shortage of skilled nuclear engineers, this could threaten safety under Government spending cutbacks.
“Demands for secrecy and security could therefore compromise safety.”
Lancashire could be in range from a convoy accident, on the M6, releasing radioactive material.
We need to ask MPs and councillors: “What emergency strategy is in place at hospitals to deal with radioactive material and burns?
If volunteers can track these convoys, what about terrorists?