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Trident leak sees radiation levels soar to new high

Trident's leaking nuclear reactor saw radiation levels in the area soar to more than 10 times the regular rate

Trident's leaking nuclear reactor saw radiation levels in the area soar to more than 10 times the regular rate, furious campaigners revealed yesterday.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond stoked anger north of the border last week when he notified MPs of the nuclear weapons programme's malfunctioning reactor - more than two years after engineers first discovered radiation spilling out into the reactor's coolant in January of 2012.

The Tory warmonger had assured MPs in the House of Commons that there had been "no measurable change in the radiation discharge.

"This water is contained within the sealed reactor circuit and I can reassure the house there has been no detectable radiation leak from that sealed circuit," he said.

But records held by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency revealed that the programme's release of radioactive gases over that period increased in intensity by more than 1,000 per cent, from 0.19 gigabecquerels of radiation in 2011 to 2.16 Gbq in 2012.

Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said the minister had "very serious questions to answer," with the affair demonstrating "arrogant disregard" for safety regulators and the public.

"He categorically stated that no radioactivity was released to the environment, we now know that this is definitely not true.

"It is hard to see how anyone can take assurances about nuclear safety from the MoD seriously when it clearly thinks it is fine to just keep quiet about the embarrassing bits," he said.

Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament co-ordinator John Ainslie said: "The only safe way forward is for all nuclear submarines and nuclear weapons to be removed from Scotland."

A ministry spokeswoman did not dispute the spike in radiation levels but told reporters the figures represented "a planned and deliberate gaseous discharge.

"The Defence Secretary has been clear that there has been no leak, that workers remain safe and the local community is not at risk," she said.

The ageing fleet docked in Scotland's Faslane naval base is due for a £65 billion replacement scheme by 2016 to remain functional. But anti-war and anti-austerity movements have pressed Westminster to abandon the project, while the Scottish National Party has vowed to eject the fleet in the case of a vote for independence in September's referendum.

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