SCANS press release


Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships

EVENT: Southampton City Council Cabinet Meeting on nuclear submarines Z Berth

The Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships (SCANS) is a forum of representatives of local environmental and peace groups established in 2000 to examine the Royal Navy's proposal to re-introduce nuclear powered submarines into Southampton Docks. The City Council was ordered to prepare an off-site nuclear safety plan to protect the public in the event of a reactor accident on a submarine moored at the QEII berth, 38/39. If a submarine were to be berthed there, then the berth would be known as a "Z" Berth.

Since 2000, SCANS has presented both the Navy and City Council with evidence that a nuclear accident could be devastating and in the present era of safety consciousness, the threat can be easily avoided by not bringing a nuclear reactor or nuclear weapons into the City. Z Berths have been closed at all other UK commercial ports except Liverpool which is currently in abeyance.

Two extensions to the safety plan timetable have been granted to the City Council by the Health & Safety Executive that supervises the plan design, to allow further consultation with SCANS. However, three major planks of the safety plan remain likely to be impossible to carry out in the event of an accident:
i. Naval ratings are to knock on all doors within at least 2 Kilometres to distribute potassium iodate tablets for immediate consumption
ii. Parents will not be "allowed" to collect children from school
iii. Police, Emergency Service and Council personnel will not be allowed to exceed a safe radiation dose while they deal with public sheltering, evacuation and injuries.

"Plans to cope with a real accident are wildly optimistic. In reality people
will probably either not be aware they are at risk, or get in their cars and try to escape". David Hoadley, Chair SCANS

i. SCANS lawyers challenge Southampton Council's legal advice that it must prepare and approve a safety plan to avoid being taken to court by the HSE. Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) has called on the Council to justify any risk of exposure to the public. The Navy and the Council maintain that at present, without UK legislation, they are not required to do so.

"We interpret the EU Commission's position to be that there is no
distinction between civil and military radiation emissions as far as
health & safety of the public and employees is concerned". . Jamie Woolley, Solicitor

ii. A concern for Councillors must be the possibility of legal claims against them for damages, should they undertake commitments to offer palliative care that they cannot, and in the end do not, deliver.

Our solicitor, Jamie Woolley is to address the Council and will be available for interview on 8th September at 2.30 and 3.30pm outside the Council Chamber.

Di McDonald 02380 554434 m: 07880 557035
David Hoadley 02380 229363
Phil Shiner, Solicitor, 0121 212 1868
Jamie Lawyer, Solicitor, 0114 220 4452

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