The government’s defence nuclear enterprise will cost 26 per cent more than previously forecast over the next three years, a report says. The Ministry of Defence is facing a funding gap of up to £14 billion in its ten-year equipment plan. In the report, out tomorrow, the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), a campaign organisation that monitors the nuclear defence industry and promotes transparency, also raises concerns that five upgrade projects within the programme are experiencing financial difficulties. Four upgrade projects have already been scrapped, it says. The three big upgrade projects for which information is released are rated either “amber/red” or “red”, meaning that delivery of the projects is either under threat or appears impossible. A report this month by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that delaying the disposal of the retired submarine fleet was costing the taxpayer £900 million. Each decommissioned submarine costs £12 million a year to store and maintain. In 1995 the MoD pledged to dispose of retired submarines “as soon as reasonably practicable”, the NAO noted, a pledge that it had not fulfilled. The bill for maintaining and disposing of the 20 stored and 10 serving submarines comes to £7.5 billion over 120 years, the time needed to deal with the nuclear waste. Two submarines, Swiftsure and Resolution, are being dismantled but the MoD does not have a fully funded process to remove, transport and store all types of radioactive parts, the NAO said. It added that the department also lacked a fully developed plan to dispose of Vanguard and Astute class submarines or the future Dreadnoughts.
Times 29th April 2019 read more »