Concerns over nuclear waste transfer

Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell has repeated concerns over the sea transfer of nuclear waste following an incident where a ship carrying such a cargo lost power and was left drifting in the Moray Firth.

Mr Campbell said: “Whilst this incident was not in waters off the Western Isles it does raise serious concerns because it illustrates the type of situation which can arise.

“Thankfully this particular incident seems to have been brought under control fairly quickly but that would appear to be because of the availability of a commercial option for a tug to go to the aid of the stricken vessel. Such an option would most likely not be available on the west coast because of the lack of oil operations.

“That would mean a ship in similar circumstances on the west coast would be reliant on the Northern Isles based ETV which would take a considerable amount of time to journey to an incident in these waters.

“And whilst the cargo may have been low level, any nuclear waste entering the waters off the Western Isles would be disastrous for commercial maritime operations and our very special environment.

“I welcome the investigation which will now take place and would call on the Scottish Government, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the UK Government and key partners to come up with a plan of mitigation to reduce the risks around Scottish coastal waters and specifically the waters off the West coast of Scotland.”