AN emergency exercise imagining an explosion spreading radioactive contamination from a nuclear bomb convoy crash in East Lothian was hampered by communication breakdowns that would have put people at risk. An official assessment of the exercise by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been passed to The Ferret. It reveals that paper masks worn by the emergency services would have failed to protect them from the radioactivity leaking from a damaged nuclear warhead. During the exercise police couldn’t hear the convoy commander over the radio because he was wearing a respirator. Police also missed vital safety information because they failed to invite the commander to briefing meetings, and were criticised by the MoD for being “unfamiliar” with emergency procedures. Campaigners condemned the exercise, codenamed Astral Climb, for not testing measures for protecting the public. They accused the MoD of failing to learn from mistakes made in previous nuclear bomb convoy exercises. The Scottish Government will soon publish a report on the safety of transporting nuclear weapons by road. Ministers asked the police and fire inspectorates to review the “preparedness” of Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for dealing with bomb convoys.
The National 23rd June 2019 read more »
The Ferret 23rd June 2019 read more »