THE arm of the UK Government in charge of the nuclear arsenal has been accused of a “cover up” after keeping the details of more than 100 security incidents secret.

A Freedom of Information request to the Defence Nuclear Organisation – a part of the Ministry of Defence – by investigative journalism site The Ferret showed the body had recorded 113 “security concerns” since 2017.

The Defence Nuclear Organisation refused to release the details of any incident, The Ferret reported, citing national security concerns and fears of damaging the international reputation of the country.

It has led to accusations of the organisation employing a “smoke screen” to prevent proper scrutiny of its work.

The MoD told The Ferret that the majority of incidents posed “no risk at all” of confidential information being lost and the Defence Nuclear Organisation – responsible for all issues related to nuclear weapons aside from military operations – said the incidents ranged from minor breaches to outright loss of information.

The organisation was quoted as saying: “The type can vary from a breach of security policy (for example, leaving a cabinet unlocked at the end of the working day) to a loss of information, meaning many reported concerns do not have significant ramifications for defence security.”

READ MORE: More than 50 radiation leaks revealed at Trident bases this year

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said: “One or two incidents while worrying could be almost understandable, but more than 100 is on an almost industrial level and is all the more concerning because of the lack of detail and transparency involved.

“This pattern of secrecy smacks less of national security and more of a cover up.”

Owen Thomson, the SNP’s armed forces spokesperson, added: “To have one incident logged at the Defence Nuclear Organisation would be concerning but to have more than a hundred raises really serious issues.

“There is always a veil of secrecy drawn by the UK Government over any aspect of the nuclear arsenal and the estate surrounding it.

“However the MoD must strike a balance between transparency and accountability in a democracy and the national interest. Operational and national security can far too often be used as a smoke screen to prevent proper scrutiny.”

And David Cullen, the director of the weapons of mass destruction monitoring organisation Nuclear Information Service, told The Ferret: “Without any external accountability, there is no mechanism that can ensure that security is being taken seriously within the [Defence Nuclear Organisation].”

We revealed previously that there had been 58 radiation leaks at Trident facilities in Scotland between January and April this year.

An MoD spokesperson said: “We take our security responsibilities extremely seriously. All staff are required to report any incidents that may lead to information loss, but the majority of these incidents pose no risk at all to the information concerned.

“All incidents are investigated thoroughly, and we have implemented a comprehensive range of measures to prevent breaches from occurring.”