Nuclear Accident Response Team

Introduction

The Ministry of Defence maintains a Nuclear Accident Response Organisation (NARO) to deal with the consequences of any accident (including one arising through terrorist acts) affecting the UK, or Overseas Territories, involving nuclear weapons, special nuclear materials, nuclear facilities or naval reactors. (See section below on the NARO).

Royal Navy Vanguard Class Submarine SSBN

Planning for nuclear accident response is undertaken in varying detail depending on the assessed probability of an accident occurring and of it resulting in a public health hazard.  In addition to having a proper concern for public safety, the MOD as a Department of State has to consider the sensitive and sometimes unique nature of its operations, the consequences of a defence nuclear accident for national defence policy and the public expectations of a Government Department.  Emergency preparedness for accidents which may affect members of the public involves many external organisations, such as local authorities, other Government Departments and emergency services, some of whom have specific statutory responsibilities. Accordingly, it is essential that planning for nuclear accident response is conducted in an open manner and in conjunction with the appropriate authorities both to meet the Department’s legal obligations, to provide information and for external authorities to gain confidence in the efficacy of the arrangements.

The MOD conducts a regular series of exercises, involving local authorities, local emergency service and agencies across government in order to ensure the effectiveness of the nuclear accident emergency plans.

Directorate of Safety & Claims – Nuclear Accident Response Team (DS&C NAR)

To maintain and develop central MOD policy for the provision of an effective Defence Nuclear Accident Response Organisation (NARO). This includes maintaining a capability to discharge HQ and Lead Government Department functions in the event of a defence nuclear accident.

The operational role of DS&C NAR team is:

  • to form a core team of secretariat and operational staff both within the HQ NARO (national strategic command) and to facilitate the lead Government Department role in the event of a defence nuclear accident or incident.
  • to manage and co-ordinate the MOD effort in maintaining and developing the NARO infrastructure.
  • to lead the planning for the HQNARO and Central Government aspects of Defence Nuclear Accident Response Exercises.
  • to provide operational HQ MOD cover for Defence Nuclear Material movements.

The policy / secretariat role of the DS&C NAR team is:

  • to provide central HQ focus for Parliamentary Questions and Enquiries relating to the Department’s Nuclear Accident Response Organisation.
  • to provide the Departmental lead in response to new Nuclear Accident Response Legislation.
  • to provide central Departmental focus for liaison with Local Authorities, Civil Emergency Services, Other Government Departments and Foreign Governments on MOD Nuclear Accident Response Issues.
  • to form the Secretariat to the Defence Nuclear Safety Board (DNSB) and MOD HSE Senior Policy/ Regulatory Liaison Meetings.
  • to maintain MOD “Intelligent Customer” and act as NARIMS System Manager in liaison with the Defence Procurement Agency and the NARIMS support contractor.
  • sponsor of the public Local Authority and Emergency Services Information (LAESI) document detailing defence nuclear materials, transport accident response arrangements.
  • sponsor of JSP 471 MOD Nuclear Accident Response policy document.
  • sponsor of the Third Tier Arrangement Implementing Joint Operational Plan between UK MOD and HQ US European Command (the response to an accident involving US Nuclear Weapons in UK).
  • to provide MOD representation on the Nuclear Emergency Planning and Liaison Group (NEPLG) and its sub-committees.

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Last Updated: 14 Nov 05