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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 12:12 GMT
Nuclear emergency plans 'inadequate'
Devonport Naval Base
Devonport has a 2 kilometre evacuation zone in the event of an incident
A nuclear pressure group has raised concerns over security at a Devon Royal Navy base with the potential threat of a terrorist attack or accident.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) believes Plymouth City Council and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have dismissed how vulnerable Devonport Naval Base is and has called plans to cope with problems "inadequate".

The MoD is responsible for security within the dockyard and the city council is charged with looking after the safety of people outside.

The council has said Plymouth has a well-established nuclear safety plan and the MoD says it takes all threats seriously.

HMS Vanguard
The dockyard is refitting Trident nuclear submarines
Devonport is home to seven Trafalgar class nuclear-powered submarines and is to refit the navy's Trident submarines.

But in November last year, two members of the group Trident Ploughshares gained access to one submarine and rang its alarm.

The MoD reviewed security at the dockyard after the incident, but Patrick Van Den Bok of CND says he is still concerned.

He said: "They are looking at a 2 kilometre (1.2 mile) evacuation zone outside the perimeter fence and it's totally inadequate.

"People involved in these planning situations will plan for something that they feel they can deal with, something which is credible.

"Anything that they can't deal with, that they feel is too much out of their remit, they will deem as incredible and, therefore, not likely to happen.

Threat levels

Plymouth City Council said contingency measures are in line with EU directives on radiation safety.

It said: "Plymouth has a well-established nuclear safety plan which is regularly updated and available in libraries.

"The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has said it broadly complies with requirements."

David Larmor from the MoD dismissed criticisms that they do not take threats seriously.

He said: "We react to threat levels that are assessed by central government and passed down to us. So threat levels here are no different than they are in the rest of the country.

"I think the overall assessment in government speak is 'moderate' for the present situation."

Radioactive leak at Devonport
28 Nov 02 |  England
Sub base security clampdown
27 Nov 02 |  England

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