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Unst nuclear threat

RAF Saxa Vord on Unst before it was closed and became a holiday resort. Photo Unst Heritage

THE RAF base at Saxa Vord on the Shetland island of Unst was considered to be one of more than 100 nuclear targets during the cold war with the Soviet Union, according to documents released by the National Archives.

Scottish environment journalist Rob Edwards wrote in The Guardian that the Conservative government under Edward Heath in the early 1970s had a “top secret” list of 106 cities, towns and military bases they considered under threat.

Amongst 25 control, communications and radar facilities on British soil considered to be at risk was RAF Saxa Vord, which was down to be hit by a three megaton bomb, 200 times the size of the US nuclear bomb that destroyed the Japanese city Hiroshima in 1945.

The site closed in 2006 and was bought by businessman Frank Strang who turned it into a holiday resort. It is now also the site of a brewery, a confectioners and a nascent distillery.