Wick Nuclear Flights

Before Christmas John posed a number of questions to the Scottish Government following serious safety concerns raised in the press regarding flights leaving Wick Airport for the United States of America, carrying highly enriched weapons grade Uranium from Dounreay. you can read more about the questions posed here: https://johnfinnie.scot/2016/12/21/john-questions-scottish-government-over-unsafe-nuclear-flights

The questions have now been answered, unfortunately the information gleaned from these questions are has been minimal at best. It is clear that the Scottish Government is not even willing to provides answers for agencies which Ministers are directly responsible such as Highlands and Islands Airport (HIAL).

John will be following up with HIAL, Highland Council, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the UK Secretary of Transport.

You can read the Scottish Government’s replies to John’s questions below.

 

S5W-05741

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will take action to stop Wick Airport being used for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US pending an independent assessment of the safety of such activity.

Roseanna Cunningham:

There will be on-going regular dialogue between the Scottish Government and the UK Government on the programme of movements of nuclear materials from Dounreay. The Scottish Government will continue to seek assurances on the safety and security of any movements.

 

S5W-05742

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government which minister is responsible for airports that it or the Scottish Ministers own, either directly or through Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The Minister for Transport and the Islands is responsible for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work has portfolio responsibility for Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

 

S5W-05743

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent on the Wick Airport site in each of the last five years, and how the money was spent.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The Scottish Government provides funding to Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to meet the operating costs and to fund the capital investment programme at its 11 airports. Funding is not broken down by individual airport. The total funding provided to HIAL in each of the last five years is outlined in the following table.

Year Subsidy Provided  (£)
2011-12 26,714,000
2012-13 22,333,000
2013-14 21,788,074
2014-15 34,093,946
2015-16 38,434,150

 

S5W-05744

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government who was consulted regarding the use of Wick Airport for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

Prior to any movements of nuclear materials from the Dounreay site, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority consults widely with stakeholders and local authorities.

 

S5W-05745

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government what factors were considered prior to the decision to allow Wick Airport to be used for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The UK Government owns the nuclear materials currently stored at Dounreay and is responsible for any movements of that material. Any transfers to the United States are covered by an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community and the United States of America. This agreement rules out the military use of any material transferred under its terms. The Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) Board are responsible for operational decisions, and for the safe operation of Wick Airport.

 

S5W-05746

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government who has responsibility for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The UK Government owns the nuclear material currently stored at Dounreay and is responsible for any movements of that material. The regulation of any such movements is a reserved matter.

 

S5W-05747

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the person or organisation that has responsibility for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The UK Government owns the nuclear materials currently stored at Dounreay and is responsible for any movements of that material. There is regular official contact between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, and Ministerial correspondence on significant matters.

 

S5W-05748

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will publish any risk assessments associated with the use of Wick Airport for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The Scottish Government does not hold this information.

 

S5W-05749

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government what additional costs Police Scotland will incur as a result of the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Michael Matheson:

The Police Scotland policy for commercial organisations requesting policing services is one of full cost recovery in line with section 86 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

 

S5W-05750

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government how communities close to Wick Airport were consulted regarding it being used for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

Prior to any movements of nuclear materials from the Dounreay site, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority consults widely with stakeholders and local authorities.

 

S5W-05751

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it had with the Highland and Orkney Islands councils regarding Wick Airport being used for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has made contact with these local authorities with respect to the programme of movements of nuclear materials from the Dounreay site, including the option of an air route from Wick Airport.

 

S5W-05752:

John Finnie, Highlands and Islands, (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government what assurances it has received that the highly enriched uranium transported from Dounreay to the US will not be used to arm nuclear warheads.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The UK Government is responsible for any transfers of nuclear materials from Dounreay. Any transfers to the United States are covered by an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community and the United States of America. This agreement rules out the military use of any material transferred under its terms.

 

S5W-05753

John Finnie, Highlands and Islands, (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it sought assurances, and from whom, that the use of Wick Airport by C-17 US Aircraft complies with all regulations that relate to the specifications of the airport runway and hard standing areas, and that the airport’s use by this type of aircraft was safe, and what responses it received.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The UK Government owns the nuclear materials currently stored at Dounreay and is responsible for any movements of that material. The Scottish Government has been kept informed on the programme of movements, and has sought and received assurances about the safety and security of any movements.

 

S5W-05754

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that the runway at Wick Airport is unsuitable for use by C-17 US Aircraft, whether Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has discussed its license to operate with the Civil Aviation Authority.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The safe operation of Wick Airport is the responsibility of the Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) Board, and fulfilling this responsibility is an operational matter for HIAL.

 

S5W-05755

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that the runway at Wick Airport is unsuitable for use by C-17 US Aircraft, whether it or Highlands and Islands Airports Limited have met the Health and Safety Executive to discuss this issue.

Roseanna Cunningham:

The safe operation of Wick Airport is the responsibility of the Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) Board, and fulfilling this responsibility is an operational matter for HIAL.

 

S5W-05756

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Green Party): To ask the Scottish Government how the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 and other (a) health and safety and (b) aviation legislation applies to Wick Airport being used for the transportation of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay to the US.

Roseanna Cunningham:

These Regulations are reserved, so this question is not within the responsibilities of the Scottish Government.