New Scottish documentary to shine spotlight on Trident dangers

Director crowdfunds for film focusing on incompetence and accidents of UK nuclear arsenal

SCOTTISH artist and director David Newbigging is planning to make a film documenting the alarming number and severity of accidents that occur within the UK’s nuclear fleet, based at Faslane on the Clyde in Scotland.

Called Benchmark 6, the fictional documentary centres around the years following the accident that occurred on HMS Vengeance, one of the UK’s vanguard class nuclear submarines, in 2011.

The Bafta award winner is currently raising funds for the film which has gained support from anti-nuclear campaign groups, MPs and nuclear physicists.

Speaking about the aims of the film, director David Newbigging said: “I’ve lived next door to the UK’s nuclear weapons my entire life. One of my earliest memories is asking my dad what the glow was coming from the Argyll Hills at night.

“Nuclear weapons are a moral issue for me. They are abhorrent. However, I want this film to be as accurate as possible. There is a lot of casual talk about accidents on the Clyde, I want to show the reality of that, I don’t want this film to be science fiction. I’ve been accused of scaremongering and insulting people who served.

“I’ve been told that anti-nuclear attitudes are out of date. I think people have forgotten what is on their doorstep. The more research I do, the more I’m sure that this in an important film to make.”

Despite relying on research about actual incidents that have occurred on the nuclear base the film will look at the fictional consequences of a larger accident ten years after the HMS Vengeance debacle. In March of 2011, the submarine suffered damage to its propulsion system while out on patrol. Earlier in 2010, another submarine HMS Astute ran aground off the coast of Skye causing itself major damage and sparking concerns over safety and training. As late as October 2014 over 300 ‘nuclear safety incidents’ were reported at the nuclear base in Faslane.

“This film shows the very real possibility of a fire on a Trident submarine and the terrible consequences - I think this could galvanise the public to campaign harder to stop this terrible weapons system." Dr Rowland Dye

Speaking about his support for the film, activist and nuclear physicist Dr Rowland Dye said: “Basic maths shows just one Trident submarine could wipe out nearly fifty million people - that's genocide. Given Britain's history of brutal aggression, from colonialism to recent wars, it is obvious the true purpose of these nuclear weapons is not defence but to project power on the world stage by intimidating other countries for financial gain.

“This comes at a colossal cost to the British people, over £200 billion at the last count. And the production process, from nuclear power through manufacturing, transport and deployment exposes us all to totally unacceptable risk. This film shows the very real possibility of a fire on a Trident submarine and the terrible consequences - I think this could galvanise the public to campaign harder to stop this terrible weapons system."

The project has not been given a set date for completion as it is still looking for more funding, but has received additional support from Ronnie Cowan, the SNP MP for Inverclyde. Supporters can help the film cross its funding threshold at its crowdfunding page.

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