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David Porter, BBC Scotland
"The MoD says it is running out of space for its old nuclear submarines"
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Thursday, 11 May, 2000, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Nuclear waste landsites proposed
Trident sub
Nuclear waste from submarines currently stored at sea
Radioactive waste from old nuclear submarines is to be stored on landsites for the first time in Britain under government plans unveiled today.

Naval dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth will soon no longer have the space to keep afloat vessels no longer in service say the Ministry of Defence.

Instead, they want to find land storage sites for radioactive components from the subs and a three-year study will be held to find suitable locations and the best means of storing it.

Environmentalists have reacted cautiously to the news and want safeguards.


Wherever the MoD chooses to stick a pin in the map, some community, somewhere, will inevitably be blighted

Mark Johnson, Friends of the Earth

Mark Johnson, from Friends of the Earth, said storing the waste on land rather than at sea was "the least worst option" and better than leaving it at sea.

But he added: "Storage on land is likely to be for at least 50 years.

"Wherever the MoD chooses to stick a pin in the map, some community somewhere will inevitably be blighted."

He said it must be possible to monitor the chosen sites and that the waste should be held in dry storage rather than in tanks of water which carried the risk of corrosion.


Announcing the proposals, Defence Minister Dr Lewis Moonie said an environmental impact assessment would be undertaken for each storage option considered.

And he insisted that there was no suggestion that the current policy of storage afloat was unsafe.

But he added: "More submarines will be decommissioned in the years to come and both dockyards are likely to be full by 2012.."

At present, 11 decommissioned nuclear submarines are stored at Devonport and Rosyth.

Three more submarines are due to be taken out of service by 2012.

Chief Executive of the Ships Support Agency, John Coles, who will be in charge of the disposal, said it would be "unlikely" that they would choose a location which was not already an existing nuclear storage site, which included the two dockyards.

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12 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
UK 'must heed nuclear waste fears'
06 Mar 00 | Scotland
Nuclear sub crash inquiry
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