A ruling allowing the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to keep nuclear safety problems secret has been condemned as a threat to democracy, with “devastating” accident risks. An information tribunal in London has rejected a bid to release reports about Trident nuclear bomb and submarine hazards on the Clyde because of fears about leaks to an increasingly “aggressive” Russia. But the secrecy has come under fierce fire from a former nuclear submarine commander and campaigners. They criticised the MoD for hiding its nuclear blunders, putting people in danger, and edging the UK towards a “closed and dictatorial state”. The Scottish National Party attacked the MoD’s secrecy as “absolutely untenable”. The idea that withholding information would keep the UK safe was “a very dangerous delusion”, the party argued. The MoD, however, insisted that nuclear information had to be protected “for reasons of national security”. The defence nuclear programme was “fully accountable” to ministers, it said. Annual reports by the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), were published for ten years under freedom of information law. But this ceased in 2017. The Ferret revealed that the reports for 2005 to 2015 highlighted “regulatory risks” 86 times, including 13 rated as high priority. One issue repeatedly seen as a high risk was a growing shortage of suitably qualified and experienced nuclear engineers.
Ferret 4th July 2021 read more »
The National 4th July 2021 read more »