Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 10:33 UK

Fears over hole found in Fife sub

A decommissioned Polaris Submarine (left) at Babcock's Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife
There are seven decommissioned submarines at Rosyth

A former nuclear submarine at Rosyth is listing slightly after a hole was discovered below the water line, BBC Scotland has learned.

The hole has been repaired but Fife Council is demanding a decision on the long-term future of this and other retired submarines at the former base.

The MoD said the hole was found in HMS Revenge during maintenance in February.

It allowed seawater to leak into a ballast tank but there was no release of radioactivity.

The reactor core of the submarine has long since been removed, but there is still radioactivity in the reactor compartment.

The Ministry of Defence is considering how to dispose of the seven submarines at Rosyth.

There was no chance of the boat sinking and absolutely no risk to the environment or wider community
Neil Smith
Royal Navy

It said it was preparing a strategy for dismantling the submarines and for the interim storage of the radioactive waste. No decisions have been taken on where this will be sited.

Councillor Tony Martin of Fife Council said it was "high time" the MoD took a decision.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP said the discovery of the hole was "an extremely unsettling incident".

"It is bad enough that Scotland is being used as a dumping ground for these radioactive hulks, but we must now have solid assurances that there is no threat to public or environmental safety from their deteriorating condition," he said.

Royal Navy spokesman Neil Smith said: "The hole was immediately plugged. There was no chance of the boat sinking and absolutely no risk to the environment or wider community."

An MoD spokesman said: "HMS Revenge is one of seven decommissioned submarines at Rosyth Dockyard.

"She has been stabilised, the pressure hull of the submarine has not been breached and there is no immediate danger to the rest of the structure.

"As the submarine has been defuelled, there are no nuclear safety concerns."

Ship refit comes to Fife dockyard
06 Dec 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Rosyth wins lucrative contract
06 Aug 01 |  Scotland

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