Ministry of Defence submarine dismantling consultation begins

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence

A sixteen week public consultation by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on options for dismantling submarines that have left service with the Royal Navy starts today (28 October 2011).

The consultation aims to seek the views of the public on disposal of the Navy's redundant nuclear submarines, which are contaminated with radioactive waste. It will seek views on three key issues:

  • how radioactive materials should be removed from the submarines;
  • where this should take place;
  • which type of site should be used for interim storage of the intermediate level radioactive waste generated following submarine dismantling.

MoD has already announced that its preferred candidate sites for where radioactive waste will be removed from submarines are the Devonport and Rosyth naval dockyards, or a combination of the two sites.  Decisions about the location for interim storage of the radioactive waste produced by the dismantling process will be the subject of a further consultation process in due course.

The consultation touches on a range of broader issues and principles that are of key importance to the nuclear sector as a whole, such as radioactive waste management, siting issues, generational equity, and new build, and is relevant to all who are concerned about nuclear issues.

Full details of how to participate in the consultation process and consultation documents are available on the MoD's Submarine Dismantling Project web site.  The consultation closes on 17 February 2012.

MoD will be placing a particular focus on consultation in the Plymouth and Rosyth areas and in the neighbouring areas of Saltash, Torpoint and Edinburgh, with local consultation events being organised in these areas.  Two national workshops have also been arranged for 31 January 2012 in Birmingham and 6 February 2012 in Glasgow.   Places at these events can be booked by contacting the MoD's submarine dismantling project team.

The Nuclear Submarine Forum (NSubF), representing a number of non-government organisations from all parts of the UK which are stakeholders in nuclear submarine dismantlement, is supporting the consultation and is encouraging everyone with an interest in the submarine dismantling proposals and nuclear issues to take the opportunity to have their say.  NSubF's website will be regularly updated over the consultation period.

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