Independent expert challenges nuclear submarine safety arrangements

Independent nuclear engineer John Large – who advised the Russian government on the salvage of the sunken submarine Kursk – has questioned the adequacy of safety arrangements designed to protect the public from the consequences of an accident on board a nuclear submarine berthed in Southampton docks.

Nuclear powered submarines occasionally visit Southampton and other civil ports on 'goodwill visits' aimed at promoting the work of the Royal Navy. Such visits have been criticised for placing the public at risk by bringing a floating nuclear reactor into the centre of a densely populated urban area.

Mr Large will attend a public meeting about the 'Sotonsafe' submarine safety plan which has been organised by Southampton City Council and the Royal Navy on November 4th to voice concerns on behalf of local campaign group Solent Coast Against Nuclear Ships (SCANS).

SCANS has asked Mr Large to investigate doubts about:

  • whether radiation doses following a nuclear accident would place emergency responders at risk;

  • whether the risk assessment and safety case prepared by the Navy is sufficiently realistic;

  • whether Southampton City Council officers have exceeded their duties by taking decisions over the safety plan that should have been made by elected councillors.

The public meeting on the Sotonsafe plan with Southampton City Council, the Royal Navy, and statutory agencies responsible for public safety will take place at 11.30 am on Tuesday 4th November at the Civic Centre, Southampton. All are welcome to attend.

Technical papers supporting John Large's presentation to the public meeting can be downloaded from the Large and Associates website here.

Pdf copies of the Sotonsafe plan and associated documents can be downloaded from Southampton City Council's webpage about theSotonsafe Annual Public Meeting.


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