MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 168/97 17 November 1997 NUCLEAR EXERCISE PUTS SAFETY FIRST, SAYS ARMED FORCES MINISTER A full test of the Ministry of Defence's comprehensive emergency plans and responses in case of a nuclear accident will be carried out in Scotland, Armed Forces Minister Dr John Reid announced today. The exercise, SHORT SERMON 97, is designed to demonstrate the reaction of the MoD in the unlikely event of a reactor accident in a nuclear submarine berthed at the Clyde Naval Base. During the exercise, in which Dr Reid is participating, emergency services will be mobilised and local authorities will play a full part. There will be a full evacuation of the Naval Base in accordance with the response plan. Dr Reid said: "There has never been an accident to a Royal Navy nuclear powered submarine which has caused any release of fisson products from its reactor. However, the Ministry of Defence make every conceivable effort to maintain the highest possible standards of nuclear safety. This exercise will provide an opportunity to fully test our emergency plans and reponses. "The MoD maintains a highly trained Nuclear Accident Response Team in order to respond swiftly and effectively to a nuclear accident anywhere in the UK." This exercise is part of a programme of nuclear accident response exercises which are held each year to test the effectiveness of that organisation. Exercise Short Sermon 97 will be held from Tuesday 18 until Thursday 20 November. ENDS