Contents of this month's NIS Update newsletter from Nuclear Information Service:
- MoD admits problems at Rolls-Royce could delay Dreadnought
- Rolls-Royce breached nuclear safety limits
- Disarmament verification research at AWE: what it is, why it’s there, and what next
- HMS Audacious finally leaves Barrow amid growing Astute programme secrecy
- Reports highlight repeated failures by MOD over four decades
- Four-fold increase in nuclear convoy problems from 2016 to 2019
MoD admits problems at Rolls-Royce could delay Dreadnought
In the latest release of the MoD's major projects data, the Amber/Red rating given to the Core Production Capability project at Rolls-Royce in Derby has been justified on the basis that delays in reactor core production could slow down progress in building nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines. This is the first time the MoD have officially acknowledged this risk. Read more.
Rolls-Royce breached nuclear safety limits
On 8th July, Rolls-Royce were issued with an improvement notice by the Office for Nuclear Regulation for breaching safety limits that are in place to prevent an unintentional nuclear chain reaction. The number of pieces of fissile material brought into a facility was more than 25% above the criticality safety limit for that facility. Read more.
Disarmament verification research at AWE: what it is, why it’s there, and what next
AWE has been running a programme of disarmament verification work since the late 1990s, but the work is not widely publicised and there are questions about whether it is focussing on the right disarmament scenarios. Henrietta Wilson provides an overview of the programme and its history for our blog, and suggests ways in which it could be improved. Read more.
HMS Audacious finally leaves Barrow amid growing Astute programme secrecy
The Astute submarine HMS Audacious has finally left Barrow-in-Furness after a programme of emergency repairs, as reported by NIS last year. However, increased secrecy about the Astute programme timetable suggests that problems within the programme may have wider consequences. Read more.
Reports highlight repeated failures by MOD over four decades
The press coverage of reports published by the National Audit Office and House of Commons Public Accounts Committee have focussed on the huge cost overruns in three major nuclear weapons programme infrastructure projects. In a piece for our blog, NIS Director David Cullen argues that the real message of the reports is that the MoD is still making the same mistakes that have dogged its infrastructure projects as far back as the 1980s, and shows no sign of learning from the past. Read more.
Four-fold increase in nuclear convoy problems from 2016 to 2019
Data released by the MoD in response to a Freedom of Information request show a significant increase in nuclear weapon convoy incidents between August 2016 and August 2019. Read more.
Save the date: NIS Webinar, 14th October 2020
To mark 20 years of the Nuclear Information Service we will be holding a webinar on 14th October to discuss the latest updates on the UK nuclear weapons prgramme, the links between civil and military nuclear projects and paths towards disarmament. Confirmed speakers include Jonathon Porritt, Kate Hudson and David Cullen. More details to follow.
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