Glasgow & West Scotland

Clyde nuclear contract awarded

HMS Astute sailing towards Faslane
Image caption The decision to privatise maintenance of Britain's nuclear weapons on the Clyde was made last year

Private contractors are to take over the maintenance of Britain's nuclear weapons on the Clyde.

The Ministry of Defence has signed a contract which will see 149 workers transfer to an alliance of companies, looking after Trident and Polaris weapons systems.

There are also to be 39 Royal Navy secondments.

They work at the Royal Navy Armament Depot at Coulport and the Strategic Weapon Support Building at Faslane.

Both facilities are part of HM Naval Base Clyde.

The consortium, known as ABL Alliance, is made up of companies that already work on defence contracts, led by AWE, along with Babcock and Lockheed Martin.

The decision to privatise the work was reached in May last year, when the MoD "decided the most effective way to sustain the workforce in the future was to use an experienced supplier within the private sector".

'Safety record'

The deal is a 15-year contract to outsource weapons support at Coulport and Faslane.

The jobs are in industrial and technical grades, warehousing and logistical support, along with supervisors and managers.

The MoD says it will continue to own the bases, and oversee security and activities at Coulport and Faslane, which will continue to be subject to the same safety regulation.

A spokesman said: "HM Naval Base Clyde has an excellent safety record and we are determined to maintain the highest standards of safety.

"The MoD will continue to own the Naval Base sites, including Coulport, and Naval Base Commander Clyde will retain overall responsibility for security and for the activities carried out at Coulport and the SWSB.

"The site will also continue to be a MoD Nuclear Authorised site, so will be subject to regulation by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator, the Office of Nuclear Regulation and other regulatory bodies."

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