REVELATIONS that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been formally reprimanded by its internal regulator for five nuclear safety breaches, with submarines stationed on the Clyde and at Trident bomb bases, are deeply concerning.

The serious safety failings – one in 2017, two in 2016 and two in 2010 – have been said by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) to be linked to “a failure of safety culture”, “inadequate resourcing” and “continued non-compliance”.

The fact these warnings – often marked “official-sensitive” or “restricted-management” – were only brought to light by Freedom of Information requests, made by The Ferret for the Sunday National, is even more


By keeping these reports, and their headline findings, under wraps the DNSR betrays a culture of secrecy that threatens public safety. This is a culture that must be challenged.

With so much at stake here transparency is crucial and it is time for the DNSR to resume making its annual reports publicly available.

As is pointed out by Green MSP and environment spokesman Mark Ruskell, vast sums are spent on maintaining these weapons of mass destruction, and yet the safety reports suggest that standards are compromised regardless.

The reality is that there are grave questions about whether Scotland should be the base for these submarines at all.

The SNP have been consistently opposed to nuclear weapons, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declaring that the party will never vote for the renewal of Trident. She has a strong mandate for the position.

In June, a BBC/YouGov poll found almost half of Scots believed the decision on whether nuclear weapons can be based in Scotland should fall to the Scottish Government.

While it still lacks the authority to do so, we look to our politicians to keep up the pressure on the MoD to come clean on its safety record and take full accountability for these breaches.