Background to ISOLUS

In response to the announcement of the ISOLUS consultation, NIS convened a meeting of interest groups and NGOs to discuss the shared problem of site(s) selection for nuclear submarine waste storage. By July, a national network, called The Nuclear Submarine Forum (NSubF), was formally constituted. Its role is to link groups around potential waste stores, to ensure they all have the same information and to agree a policy. The following NSubF key recommendations were put to the Ministry of Defence through the ISOLUS consultation:


1. The UK should end the practice of powering its submarines with nuclear reactors. There is no solution to the problem of dealing with nuclear waste, so the first priority should be to stop making more. This means no new submarine reactors and also decommissioning existing ones, so that no more spent submarine reactor nuclear waste fuel is created.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

2. Decommissioned nuclear submarines cannot be left at sea, where any radioactive leaks will quickly be dispersed through the environment.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

3. Any interim storage option should use best available techniques for the containment of nuclear waste to prevent any leaks of radioactivity into the environment. The least-bad option is above-ground managed, monitored retrievable storage on land. This would be for an indefinite (i.e. currently unknown and undefined) period into the future, so that current generations can begin and continue to implement the best available techniques for containment.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations five times

4. Existing sites should be used to manage radioactive wastes. No new sites, or extension to existing sites should be contaminated.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

5. Radioactive wastes should be concentrated and contained, not diluted and dispersed. For example, radioactively contaminated scrap from decommissioned nuclear submarines should not be dispersed via the metals recycling industry. This means that Submarine Reactor compartments should be stored intact for the interim and not cut into or chopped up.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations three times

6. All information relevant to decisions on the management of all nuclear wastes should be made fully transparent and publicly available for consultation, and public involvement in decision-making.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations nine times

7. An open transparent site selection process involving the public to identify the most suitable existing nuclear site(s) to store existing nuclear wastes arising from the decommissioning of nuclear powered submarines. Safety must be the priority in selecting methods and sites
Included in the Consultation Recommendations five times

8. Policy should be adopted which prioritises environmental and public safety and minimises transports of nuclear wastes.
Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

NOTE: The Nuclear Submarine Forum is a national network of groups and individuals engaged in responding to Ministry of Defence consultations on the topic.

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