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Nuclear weapons transports through Lancashire a safety risk

radiation-truckIs Lancashire ‘at risk of nuclear contamination’? Langashire Evening Post , 12 Oct 16 Nuclear convoys carrying warheads routinely drive on the M6. If one crashed, or was attacked by terrorists, more than 260,000 people could be in danger of contamination, according to a new report. Nuclear bomb convoys on the M6 are putting more than a quarter of a million people at risk from radioactive contamination in Lancashire, according to a report by campaigners.
Anti-nuclear campaigners warn 165 schools, seven hospitals and four railway stations could all be affected if transporters carrying Trident warheads crashed along the route through the county. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons UK, which compiled the report, is demanding an end to the road convoys which routinely pass close to the city en route from the South of England to Scotland. It claims an accident or an explosion could pose a serious threat to people in a 10-kilometre radius. That puts Fylde coast towns and villages including Pilling, Garstang, Great Eccleston, Elswick, Inskip, Wharles, Treales, Newton, and Clifton, within the radius.
There is a fully-prepared and well-tested major incident plan for the whole of Lancashire which is co-ordinated by Lancashire County Council in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and all Lancashire-based councils. “Yet most of the millions of people in the communities they pass by are unaware of what’s happening – and the risks they could be facing,” said the report’s author Rob Edwards. The “Nukes of Hazard” reveals that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed there were eight accidents involving nuclear weapons convoys between 1960 and 1991.
But, following Freedom of Information requests, the MoD has now revealed a further 180 “safety incidents” have happened between 2000 and 2016. The report says convoys have crashed, broken down, got lost and have suffered brake failure and other mechanical problems. “A terrorist attack on a nuclear convoy, according to the MoD, could cause considerable loss of life and severe disruption both to the British people’s way of life and to the UK’s ability to function effectively as a sovereign state.
“ Convoy accidents could spread radioactive contamination over at least 10 kilometres, depending on the direction of the winds. “Hundreds of thousands of people could find their lives seriously disrupted as communities are evacuated, essential infrastructure disabled and emergency services overwhelmed. “Contamination and worries about cancer would linger for decades.”……….
The campaign group Nukewatch says the 20-vehicle convoys, made up of huge dark green trucks accompanied by military Land Rovers and police, carry warheads from a bomb factory at Berkshire to the Royal Navy armaments depot near Glasgow. The 900-mile round trip is carried out between two and six times a year and has two routes, one via Leeds and Newcastle and the other past Birmingham and Preston heading north to Glasgow. Components for the warheads are made at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire. From there they are transferred to nearby AWE Burghfield to be assembled, before making the long road journey north to Coulport on Loch Long, north of Glasgow. At Loch Long the carriers are unloaded and the warheads placed in underground bunkers. When needed they are moved to the explosive handling jetty at Coulport and fitted into the Trident submarines……….

October 18, 2016 - Posted by | safety, UK

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