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UK Trident bomb base in Scotland has ‘significant’ radioactive waste problem

‘Significant’ radioactive waste problem at Trident submarine base, The Ferret, Ferret Journalists on January 7, 2018, Scotland’s environmental watchdog has criticised nuclear waste handling at the UK Trident bomb base on the Clyde after a “significant” mix-up over the disposal of submarine waste.

During an August 2017 visit to the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) staff found untested waste from submarines, potentially containing radioactive material, had been mixed with other waste.

This meant that radioactive waste could have been taken off site and disposed of as if it were non-radioactive waste.

 Sepa also said that the Royal Navy was in breach of an agreement about when and how it should tell Sepa about waste incidents, prompting the SNP to say the issue was “deeply worrying” while calling on the UK Government to investigate.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is supposed to tell Sepa ‘without delay’ when an environmental incident occurs. It should then provide a written report within 14 days.

Documents released under freedom of information legislation show that an internal MOD probe found that no radioactive waste left the site. But the only reason the untested material was not taken off the base is because vigilant civilian waste contractors refused to pick up the incorrectly processed waste.

Sepa letter to the MOD said that the watchdog considered this type of incident as “significant” adding that had the Royal Navy been a civilian operator, it would have considered issuing a formal written warning.

Sepa’s chief officer, John Kenny, told The Ferret that the incident raised concerns regarding the “adequacy of arrangements for radioactive waste handling” at the Coulport site…….

Campaign group Navy not Nuclear pointed to a long history of MOD “poor practice” when it comes to handling nuclear materials in Scotland, dating back more than a decade.

“The most damning thing about this is that nothing has changed,” it said. “The MOD are still failing to follow their own operating procedures, and they’re still failing dismally when it comes to telling the regulator and protecting the environment.”

The group called for more to be done by both the MOD and Sepa to alert the public when environmental incidents occur.

“It shouldn’t be the case that this information should come to light by freedom of information, they should have a statutory public duty to disclose this information,” it said.


January 8, 2018 - Posted by | UK, wastes

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