YOU can always tell when a big public scheme turns seriously sour. Managers reorganise and the product is rebranded, as if changing the process and the name will solve the fundamental problems.

Famously in the nuclear sphere, the reputation of the Windscale reprocessing plant in Cumbria became so bad we all had to learn to call it Sellafield. Now it seems the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is trying to pull the same trick with Trident.

The programme to replace Trident nuclear submarines has been so dogged with technical problems and costs overruns, they have decided to rename it. From now on, we should call it Dreadnought – also the name of the UK’s first nuclear submarine now languishing at Rosyth dockyard.

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As we report today, the MoD’s £43 billion plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system as well as to build a new fleet of Astute submarines for the Clyde have been condemned as “in doubt” or “unachievable” by a high-powered Westminster spending watchdog – and are getting worse. We don’t know how a related £20bn project to upgrade Trident warheads is managing, because every assessment of its progress has been kept secret for national security reasons.

The Sunday Herald has long argued that nuclear weapons are dangerous, expensive and redundant. Most of Scotland – and most countries in the world – now agree that they should be banned.

The new report suggests that their costs could be uncontrollable. The problem with nuclear weapons is not just that they burn uranium and plutonium. It’s that they burn money. And there are plenty of better things we could do with that kind of money. Our hospitals, schools and social services are crying out for investment that could make real improvements to our lives.

If, as Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested, there isn’t a “magic money tree”, why is the UK pouring good money after bad into unusable weapons of mass destruction? Isn’t it time for a rethink?

Is it too much to ask that, even at this late hour, the UK Government could see sense and call a halt to the nuclear juggernaut?