Nuclear exercise in Ayrshire

An exercise to test responses to an emergency scenario involving a Ministry of Defence (MOD) nuclear weapon convoy will take place in South Ayrshire this week.

The scenario for Exercise Senator is based on a series of highly improbable events involving a UK nuclear weapon convoy. This routine emergency planning exercise will take place at HMS Gannet in Prestwick.

The exercise will test the response of the MOD and the civil emergency services including Strathclyde Police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service, as well as the Scottish Government, the Atomic Weapons Establishment, local authorities and other key agencies.

Members of the public will not be affected by the exercise, which will involve around 300 people; however, there will be increased activity around the HMS Gannet site for the duration of the exercise.

An MOD spokesperson said: “The MOD has an exemplary nuclear safety record. There has never been an emergency involving UK nuclear weapons that has led to – or come anywhere near – the type of scenario we will be testing.”

A Strathclyde Police spokesperson said “While there is very little likelihood of such an event ever happening, we have to be prepared for all eventualities and this scenario is simply the latest in a number of emergencies that are tested on an ongoing basis.

“This will allow us to identify where we get things right and where we could, potentially, make further improvements that will benefit the emergency response arrangements. It’s vital our public services plan and practice for all scenarios and this exercise will help us do just that.”

Exercise Senator takes place between 13-15 September 2011.