Exposed: Over 100 potentially deadly nuclear convoy incidents on mainland UK since 2000

© Barbara Sax
Military reports show a list of potentially explosive errors including brake failures, fuel leaks and overheated engines have occurred during operations to move nuclear materials by road through Scotland.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) reports were published by the Ferret investigative journalism team and add a further 43 incidents to the list of known failures and near misses since 2000, bringing the total to 180.

The new releases cover incidents during road moves of nuclear convoys between January 2013 and July 2016.

One incident, according to the MoD, involved a “minor road traffic collision involving two convoy vehicles” which resulted in “marks to [the] bumper on one vehicle.

Another happened as a vehicle left an unidentified military base. It describes how the vehicle made “contact with a parked civilian vehicle.”

In November 2014 a warhead carrier broke down due to a “defective interlock,” stopping the convoy.

A second carrier lost power as it was leaving a military installation and had to be returned to base in September 2015.

A convoy had to be delayed in January 2016 because its departure route had mistakenly been planned to coincide with “the end of a local football match with fans leaving ground.

Scottish National Party (SNP) defense spokesman Brendan O’Hara was particularly scathing about the revelations, telling the Ferret: “This is utterly chilling.

One incident involving these deadly cargos is one more than is acceptable – but 43 in three years is plain shocking,” he said.

These figures illustrate very starkly that communities are potentially being put at risk because of breakdowns and safety concerns. People are being kept in the dark, and it’s imperative that communities know that they are safe.

An MoD spokesman defended the military’s record on nuclear convoys.

All operational and engineering incidents are reported, however minor,” he said.

In over 50 years of transporting defense nuclear material in the UK, there has never been an incident that has posed any radiation hazard to the public or to the environment.