Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
U.K. Inks 15-Year Deal With Private Contractor to Manage Nuke Arsenal Site
The British government on Friday inked a 15-year agreement with a defense contractor consortium to supply management services for a naval base installation that houses the country's nuclear-armed Trident ballistic missiles, the Press Association reported (see GSN, May 31, 2011).
The agreement with ABL Alliance -- a group consisting of Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Services, Babcock, and AWE plc -- would shift 39 British navy positions and 149 Defense Ministry nonmilitary jobs to the private contractors. The transferred duties include organizational support and storage activities. Both the Coulport naval base, where Trident missiles and their nuclear warheads are stored, and a supporting logistical facility at Faslane will be impacted by the deal.
The Defense Ministry said it had determined in spring 2011 that the most efficient option for maintaining the critical skills needed to manage the nation's nuclear weapons was to outsource the task to skilled contractors.
"HM naval base Clyde has an excellent safety record and we are determined to maintain the highest standards of safety," the ministry stated. "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 Faslane.
"The site will also continue to be a MoD nuclear authorized site, so will be subject to regulation by the Defense Nuclear Safety Regulator, the Office of Nuclear Regulation and other regulatory bodies," the ministry continued.
ABL Alliance is slated to take over management duties next January so long as labor contract negotiations conclude on schedule (Press Association/London Guardian, July 27).
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