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Last Updated: Monday, 19 January, 2004, 07:37 GMT
Referendum call on N-subs
Nuclear submarine
Space is running out for decommissioned nuclear subs
Safety campaigners in Plymouth are calling on the city council to hold a referendum on proposals to dismantle nuclear powered submarines in the city.

But the council leader Tudor Evans says a vote would not be appropriate.

The firm which runs Devonport Dockyard, DML, is one of several companies bidding for the work to dismantle Britain's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines as they become decommissioned.

The University of Lancaster has been carrying out a consultation exercise, called Project Isolus, on the plans on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

That consultation included a public meeting in Plymouth towards the end of last year.


Nuclear safety campaigners in Plymouth want to see a referendum, timed to coincide with elections later in the year.

Campaigner Ken Tucker has written to Tudor Evans calling for a vote on the submarines issue.

He said: "If we hold a referendum on the same day, 10 June, there will be time for more consultation and public meetings on the issues and for councillors to be questioned."

But Mr Evans says it is not up to the council to do consultation work for the MoD.

He said: "The referendum would have no purpose because it would have no affect on the decision.

"The council does not make the ultimate decision, it is the MoD."

Eleven submarines have already been decommissioned but remain with their reactors intact floating in the docks at Rosyth in Fife and at Devonport, the UK's only nuclear-licensed dockyards.

But space is running out and there are 16 more submarines coming to the end of their working lives.

The government will not make a decision where the work will be done until 2006.

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