Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships
54 Northlands Road
Southampton SO15 2LG
31 JULY 2006
FOUR REASONS WHY HMS TIRELESS SHOULD NOT DOCK IN THE MIDDLE OF A CITY
1) HMS TIRELESS is a warship.
A police officer asked me yesterday what was the difference between working on a nuclear submarine and in a radiological laboratory?
I answered that a nuclear powered warship is stuffed with munitions at one end with a nuclear reactor amidships. This combination sank the Russian Federation submarine Kursk in 2000 with loss of all hands on board.
2) HMS TIRELESS IN GIBRALTAR
After a full 3 year refit from 1996 – 1999 HMS Tireless had a major nuclear incident at sea and limped into the Gibraltar Z berth and stayed there for a year undergoing major repairs to its nuclear reactor circuit. Does Southampton want to play host to a damaged submarine?
3) Radiation incident training of emergency services
So far only the firefighters have training and equipment to deal with a radiation incident. The other emergency services, both the police and medics, have no training in radiation, cannot monitor how much radiation they are receiving in an incident, and do not know when they can enter or should leave a radiological area.
When I asked the police officer yesterday what training he had for a radiation emergency he said police would “use their initiative”, and then jokingly “and run like mad”. He said he’d been given a 10 page briefing paper which he had not had time to read. He also said his senior officers were properly briefed but by their own admission after the nuclear accident exercise in Southampton in February, the police said their communications were inadequate.
4) Radiation incident compensation
The cost of the accident exercise in Southampton was borne by the MOD who paid the council about £1million. That’s about £4 per person to ensure the Sotonsafe Plan was prepared without which Tireless could not have docked yesterday. But if there was a serious accident then houses would have to be permanently evacuated and abandoned; no insurance company would provide cover for such a risk. Who will cover this risk?