Scotland Wants U.K. Apology for Lack of Notice on Nuclear-Reactor Leak

Global Security Newswire Staff
March 10, 2014, 9:14 a.m.

The Scot­tish gov­ern­ment is de­mand­ing an apo­logy from Lon­don for a lack of no­ti­fic­a­tion about a ra­di­ation leak at a nuc­le­ar re­act­or based in Scot­land.

Scot­tish First Min­is­ter Alex Sal­mond said U.K. Prime Min­is­ter Dav­id Camer­on should apo­lo­gize for not no­ti­fy­ing the Scot­tish par­lia­ment in 2012 when the emis­sion was dis­covered at a test re­act­or housed at Doun­reay in Scot­land, Re­u­ters re­por­ted on Sunday.

“You must now of­fer an im­me­di­ate ex­plan­a­tion of why your gov­ern­ment al­lowed this to hap­pen, an apo­logy for the dis­reg­ard of es­tab­lished pro­cesses and a com­mit­ment that it will nev­er hap­pen again,” Sal­mond said.

The latest im­broglio over Brit­ish nuc­le­ar activ­it­ies in Scot­land comes as Sal­mond’s Scot­tish Na­tion­al Party, gov­ern­ing in Ed­in­burgh, seeks to con­vince Scot­tish voters to ap­prove a ref­er­en­dum for in­de­pend­ence, sched­uled to take place in Septem­ber. The Scot­tish Na­tion­al Party has vowed to or­der U.K. nuc­le­ar-armed Tri­dent bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines ex­pelled from Scot­land if it at­tains a “yes” vote.

Brit­ish De­fense Sec­ret­ary Philip Ham­mond on Thursday said ra­di­ation was found in the cool­ing wa­ter sur­round­ing the Doun­reay re­act­or — the same type as those used to power U.K. nuc­le­ar sub­mar­ines. He said the leak was not a safety risk and that atom­ic reg­u­lat­ors and Scot­tish en­vir­on­ment­al of­fi­cials were made aware of the in­cid­ent when it happened.

The Scot­tish En­vir­on­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency in a state­ment said it did not dis­close the leak be­cause the De­fense Min­istry had re­ques­ted the in­form­a­tion be kept “on a strict need-to-know basis for se­cur­ity reas­ons.”

Scot­land’s gov­ern­ment now is say­ing it would or­der all atom­ic-powered sub­mar­ines out of Scot­land — not just nuc­le­ar-armed, bal­list­ic-mis­sile ves­sels — in the event of in­de­pend­ence, the Scot­tish Her­ald re­por­ted on Sunday.

“We do not see the con­tin­ued basing of the As­tute or Tra­fal­gar fleets at Faslane, bey­ond the ne­ces­sary trans­ition peri­od, to be in Scot­land’s in­terests,” a gov­ern­ment spokes­wo­man told the news­pa­per.

The United King­dom in the com­ing dec­ades an­ti­cip­ates a fleet of 14 atom­ic-powered sub­mar­ines: four bal­list­ic-mis­sile sub­mar­ines, three Tra­fal­gar-class ves­sels and sev­en new As­tute-class sub­mar­ines.

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