Against a “Z” berth in Southampton


In relation to the berthing of nuclear powered submarines in Southampton Docks,
Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships (SCANS) holds that:

Following the City Council Meeting of 2nd May 2001 when evidence from the Navy was outweighed by that of the expert nuclear engineer, John Large,

(i)   there has been no "Z" Berth in Southampton Docks

(ii)  there has been no risk of a nuclear reactor accident in the City

(iii) there has been no possibility of an accident situation arising when the Royal
      Navy has taken away control from the City Council

(iv) this is a stable, safe position from which the City Council should be slow to

Risk Assessment
Following the Navy request that Southampton City Council prepare an off-site safety plan under REPPIR1 to enable nuclear powered submarines to enter the docks, and following consultation with a crisis management expert, SCANS considers that:

(iv) no safety plan will reliably protect the public in the event of a radiation

(v) such a plan breeds a false sense of security among planners, elected
     councillors, the Royal Navy and the general public

(vi) the City Council cannot rely on a safety plan to protect the public, animals, the
       natural environment, private & public buildings, parks and other infra structure

(vii) under this scheme the City Council has an obligation to plan and prepare an
        all hazard plan for those fixed facilities that are already established in

(viii) Council Officer time should not be wasted preparing a plan for a facility
         that does not exist to the detriment of sharpening up safety plans for those
         risks that already exist

Nuclear Technology
Following our close study of the Large Report on a previous Southampton safety plan, SCANS considers that:

(ix) the Royal Navy is not in a position to declare the exact technical data of a
      submarine reactor

(x) a safety plan using approximate data will neither be adequate nor conform to

(xi) the risk extends far beyond Southampton (as demonstrated in the recent
      Large report) and therefore the city has a duty of care to others

(xii) in the event of a nuclear accident, the Royal Navy will attend to military
       matters and naval personnel, consult with MoD HQ regarding details to give
       to the media and local authority, and lastly, secure appropriate expert
       monitoring to establish the public health precautions that should be taken

Public Health
Following consultation with the medical profession, SCANS considers that:
(xiii) the distribution of PITs2  is flawed at every turn, from failure to reach
people  in advance of the radioactive plume, to the normal intolerance of children
to the toxic dose prescribed    

Legal Liability
Following consultation with lawyers, SCANS considers that:

(xiv) liability will remain with the City Council to comply with legislation and
         meet public claims for damages in the event of failure to protect people in a
         nuclear accident

(xv) the City Council could face claims for assault and/or actual harm to children
       in school whose parents have not given permission for the administration of a

(xvi) justification of the need for a nuclear reactor in the City is the obligation
        of the Council.

Military "Z" Berths
Following study of the pattern of distribution of "Z" Berths, SCANS is aware that:

(xvii) "Z" Berths are located in naval military bases    

(xviii) no commercial port in Britain currently hosts nuclear powered submarines

(xix) twelve "Z" Berths have been closed in recent years

(xx) Proposed "Z" Berths in Swansea and Tilbury were not established

(xxi) "Z" Berths have no place in a busy commercial, non-military port with
         adjacent vulnerable commercial & residential areas

Following 11th September terrorist attacks in the USA, SCANS considers that:

(xxii) a nuclear submarine in a non-military dock is a soft target
(xxiii) the use of a "Z Berth" by the US Navy would put Southampton at an
         additional unnecessary risk
(xxiv) Southampton should reduce all possible risks and not take on new ones.

SCANS has no confidence in a so-called "Safety Plan" and urges Southampton City Council to refrain from undertaking a project that is without merit in the eyes of the law, nuclear engineers, the medical profession, crisis management experts and informed citizens.
1 Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations
2 Potassium Iodate Tablets


Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships (SCANS)
c/o30 Westwood Road Southampton SO17 1DN   tel./fax: 02380 554434                


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