Why Scots want Trident out of Scotland

Some Scots want the UK's Trident nuclear missile carrying submarines out of Scotland.

This is why.


Britain’s fleet of nuclear missile submarines are based at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, close to the Scottish city of Glasgow. Each of the four Trident submarines has 16 missile launching tubes. Each missile has eight warheads. These can be of either 100 kiloton or 475 kiloton yield. A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of conventional explosive. Each warhead can be set to attack a different target, or different parts of the same target if the target is a large city. Therefore, a single submarine can attack 128 [16 missiles times 8 warheads per missile] different targets.

I do not think the Scots have ever  understood the risks of having the submarines based in Scotland. The two bases that make up Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde [Faslane and Coulport] are only 30 miles from Glasgow. Both must be high priority nuclear targets and would be attacked with high yield nuclear weapons if there was a war with a nuclear power. 

However, attacks on the bases are not the main risk. There are always at least two, and perhaps three Trident submarines in the Clyde. If an attack was imminent  there would be an attempt to get all the boats to sea. The escape routes from the Clyde are marked in blue on the map.

I have no doubt that in time of war an enemy would drop a chain of nuclear bombs along the escape routes in the hope of catching at least one of the boats before they got to the open sea. With each boat carrying 128 nuclear warheads it would have been stupid for them not to try and destroy as many as possible. The map shows 16 nuclear explosions. In practice there would probably have been many more. An enemy would have no reason to be economical.

The Clyde is shallow and the underwater nuclear detonations would have thrown up vast quantities of radioactive mud and water vapour. Unlike dust from land bursts,  which might be blown or washed away, radioactive mud tends to stick.  The prevailing wind is from the south west and the radiation cloud would have been carried across  most of Scotland, wiping out all life.

If the Cold war had ever turned hot Scotland would have suffered more than any other part of the UK.

If the Government wants to have a nuclear submarine fleet then let them be based in the Thames or Southampton Water. Why should Scotland  be the target?  It seems incredible that these bases should ever have been located so close to Scotland's largest city. 

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