‘The Ministry Of Defence’s “poor management” of Britain’s nuclear weapons programme has led to rising costs and lengthy delays, according to the government spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office looked at three security sites in England, known as the Defence Nuclear Estate.
It found the infrastructure projects face delays of between one and six years, with costs increasing by £1.3bn.
The MoD said it would carefully look at the report’s findings.
The projects, initially valued at £2.5bn, are being built to enhance or replace existing facilities at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, where four new submarines are being built by BAE Systems to carry Trident missiles.
The other sites are Raynesway near Derby, where Rolls Royce is developing nuclear reactors to power the submarines, and at Burghfield in Berkshire, where the Atomic Weapons Establishment are assembling nuclear warheads.
Nearly half of the £1.3bn in increased costs are due to construction starting too early and then having to be revised, the NAO found.
The watchdog acknowledged there have been unique challenges, including the need to comply with stricter security and safety regulations for the nuclear industry, such as the construction of buildings able to withstand seismic activity.
But it said the MoD did not have the controls in place to overcome these barriers and prevent infrastructure designs from being over-specified and to ensure designs are “cost-effective”.’