The botched repairs reportedly prompted an urgent investigation as defense chiefs demanded assurances about future work
UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace has reportedly called for an urgent investigation after The Sun revealed that a routine inspection aboard one of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines found evidence of bizarrely botched repair work.
According to a detailed report by the outlet, workers allegedly used super glue to fix a number of broken bolt heads used to hold together cooling pipes in the nuclear reactor of the HMS Vanguard. The civilian staff from defense contractor Babcock appears to have originally damaged the bolts by shearing them off through clumsy over-tightening. However, instead of boring out the broken shafts and replacing them, they simply glued the heads back on.
The Sun notes that there were at least seven bolts repaired this way, all of which held insulation in place on coolant pipes which are responsible for preventing meltdown of the reactor.
The technicians apparently never reported any details of their work to their higher-ups and simply filed a "process of work issue." The potentially catastrophic repairs were only noticed earlier this month when one of the bolts fell apart during a routine check ahead of a scheduled first firing of the reactor at maximum power.
The incident reportedly sparked outrage among defense officials. Wallace has demanded a meeting and "assurances about future work," The Sun writes.
A Navy source told the outlet that he was furious that Babcock had failed to inform defense officials about the botched repairs. "It's a disgrace. You can't cut corners with nuclear. Standards are standards. Nuclear standards are never compromised," he told The Sun.
Repair work aboard the HMS Vanguard is being done as part of dry dock refurbishment at HMNB Devonport in Plymouth, which is already four years behind schedule and around Pound 300 million ($370 million) over budget.