This article is a straight from a navy press release and fails to mention problems with aging submarine coolant systems and the radiation risk from a reactor melt down. Nor does it admit that foreign boats could come in with nuclear weapons on board. Southampton and Liverpool are NOT in use, although the Navy has been trying for five years to persuade the councils to accept them.
NUCLEAR submarines are to return to Portland under new plans announced by the Royal Navy. by Paul Greaves <mailto:email@example.com>/
Wednesday 14 December 2005
The port is to be designated as a Z-berth facility allowing the subs to stop in Portland two or three times a year for routine operational purposes.
The decision has been taken by the Ministry of Defence in order to give the Royal Navy more strategic flexibility in using commercial ports around the UK.
Local authorities have no say in the decision, but it will be their responsibility to develop off-site emergency response plans.
Fleet Command submarine engineering staff officer Captain Keith Beckett was in Dorchester explaining the decision to local leaders and briefing them on the need to develop an off-site emergency plan.
The Royal Navy already uses Z-berths at ports around the British coastline including Liverpool, Southampton and Portsmouth.
It says the visits will be strictly routine and no engineering work will take place.
Adam Ingram, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, said: "Nuclear submarines play a key role in the defence of the UK, and the Royal Navy's ability to operate with full flexibility around the UK coastline is crucial. This development would reaffirm the Royal Navy's historic links with Portland and allow our submarines to visit Portland Port."
Nuclear submarines visited Portland several times during the 1980s.
Response plans will be now be developed and made public in 2006, ahead of any visit. Exercises will take place to check the effectiveness of the measures and plans will be reviewed every three years.
Dorset County Council and Weymouth Borough Council will work closely with the Royal Navy to put the emergency plans in place.
Mr Ingram said every effort would be taken to ensure safety. He added: "Our nuclear submarines are operated to the very highest safety standards but I understand that some people may still have concerns.
"It is worth noting that, thanks to the stringent safety procedures, in the past 40 years the Royal Navy has operated nuclear submarines there has never been a reactor accident and safety remains our highest priority."