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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

UK nuclear weapons incidents hit 6-year high

Iran Press TV

Tue May 22, 2018 06:08AM

The UK military experienced a record number of safety issues while transporting nuclear warheads and other critically sensitive equipment related to nuclear weapons last year, official records show.

In total, British nuclear motorcades moving across the country reported 44 safety instances that led to largely unscheduled stops for extra maintenance checks on the material, the UK Ministry of Defense said earlier this month when asked by lawmakers.

Of those, 24 issues were said to be operational while the other 20 stemmed from engineering mishaps.

The figure has grown almost four-fold since 2008, when only 12 incidents took place.

The defense ministry said none of the incidents posed risks to the public but refused go into details

Previous freedom of information act requests have shown that the motorcades, usually consisted of more than 20 vehicles, face common incidents such as equipment failures, collisions and breakdowns.

"The transportation of Defence Nuclear Material, including warheads, is carried out to the highest standard in accordance with stringent safety regulations," read a ministry statement.

The British military usually transport Trident nuclear warheads at least six times a year between the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Long Loch's Coulport Loch near Glasgow and the bomb factory at Burghfield in Berkshire, where they are stored.

The convoys are supposed to keep away from heavily populated areas but approach major cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

A 2016 YoGov poll found that some 64 percent of Britons didn't know that nuclear weapons are transported on Britain's public roads.

This is while, 47 percent of the respondents were concerned about the movements.

Known as the Trident program, Britain's nuclear deterrent has been a source of controversy over its costs.

While the Ministry of Defense refuses to disclose the overall cost of replacing the UK's ageing weapons, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has estimated that it would cost at least £205 billion.

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