Clyde bases plagued by nuclear safety flaws, says the MoD.

HMS Illustrious passes Coulport earlier this month

The Clyde bases that host Britain’s nuclear bombs and submarines are plagued by widespread safety flaws, according to an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) report obtained by the Sunday Herald.

Critics fear that the problems could trigger a major nuclear accident at Faslane or Coulport that would contaminate Glasgow with radioactivity. They say this would be “unspeakable” and are demanding an urgent investigation.

The MoD’s latest annual review of safety reveals that 11 of the bases’ 13 activities have been officially declared unsatisfactory after assessments by site managers and regulators. The review was released last week in response to a request under freedom of information legislation.

Nine safety activities were colour-coded yellow because they were “below standard” and suffered “some specific weaknesses”. These included categories headed “weapons safety”, “safety culture”, “maintenance”, “safety performance indicators”, “site safety case”, “nuclear safety event reporting” and “conventional health and safety including fire safety”.

Two activities were coded orange because they were “significantly below standard” with “flawed” practices or procedures. They were headed “organisational change” and “operator experience feedback”.

No further details about the precise nature of the safety weaknesses were given in the review, or by the MoD. On nuclear weapons safety the review just said there had been “shortfalls in specific areas or delays in progressing projects”.

The revelations were “of grave concern”, according to the SNP’s defence spokesman in Westminster, Angus Robertson MP. “They point to serious systemic failures which could clearly put lives at risk,” he said. Continued…

Reproduced by permission of Sunday Herald environment correspondent  Rob Edwards.


Friendship Holidays Association – Glenfinart House 1956

Glenfinart House 1956 - Extract from "Friendship Holidays Association" summer brochure (click image to enlarge).

A fascinating glimpse of Glenfinart House, Ardentinny some 57 years ago with this extract from the “Friendship Holidays Association” 1956 summer brochure.  A forerunner to the package holidays of the 60’s, at just £7 per week (roughly £136 at today’s prices) guests could enjoy full board (shared) accommodation  beginning with high tea on the Saturday evening to breakfast a week later. Single rooms could be arranged for an extra 1/6 per night (seven and a half pence in “new money”) and it would appear that alcohol or rather “intoxicants” as is stated in the brochure, were frowned upon as none were permitted in the guest rooms or on excursions!

The village and the surrounding area appeared to offer an amazing range of leisure activities including coach trips; walking; steamer excursions; bathing; dancing; table-tennis; boating and croquet! Optional excursions were available for an extra 45/- (£2.25) per week.

The brochure was kindly provided to us by Tony Harrison whose late mother’s uncle was the founder of the Friendship Holiday Association.

Do you have any memories of Glenfinart House or the Friendship Association? If so please let us know or use the comment box below.

You can view the complete Friendship Holiday brochure here (PDF 2.8mb).

This work by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 UK: Scotland.