An agency drill to prepare officials in the event of a nuclear accident exposed a series of flaws, according to a new report.
The exercise, Short Sermon, took place in October 2013 and was intended to test reactions involving a reactor of a nuclear powered warship in Plymouth. The scenario included radioactive material released into the atmosphere and numerous casualties.
However, according to a new report by the Ministry of Defence into the drill, a number of gaffes were identified in the way that agencies handled the exercise such as “severely flawed and wrong” evacuation instructions and a “lack of understanding” of the direction in which the radiation was moving.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, involved in the drill, described a "lamentable lack of information mapping or charts" at an initial meeting, with "confused" deployment of fire engines.
There was also a case where ambulance workers rushed in a “victim” suffering from radiation related contamination without warning or precaution.
"The exercise proved once again to be most challenging for all agencies that took part,” said the report.
Responses to the scenario included part of the site being evacuated to shelters, a cordon quickly enforced and maintained and plans to distribute potassium iodate tablets put in place.
A total of 29 agencies took part in the exercise covering strategic, tactical and operational levels from Devonport, Devon to Whitehall, London.
The Sunday Telegraph is outraged that the Ministry of Defence has been forced to shell out almost £150m defending soldiers from enemy fighters' claims they violated their human rights.
"Experts fear the growing litigation culture means that shooting an enemy in the heat of battle could be enough for a British soldier to be found in breach of European human rights laws," it reports. The paper's editorial points the finger at abuse of the European Convention on Human Rights, citing as an example: "It is madness to suggest that dangerous or suspected insurgents should not be held for more than a few hours."
The prime minister's Labour counterpart is wrestling with defence funding,according to the Independent on Sunday. It says Jeremy Corbyn is being urged by supporters to adopt the Nato commitment of spending 2% of national income on defence, even though he has previously opposed the target.
Some believe it would "head off accusations that he is weak on defence," explains the paper. "Committing to 2% would also provide him with cover to pursue one of his most important personal causes, scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent," it adds.