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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Nuclear sub disposal plan ditched
Nuclear submarine
Radioactive waste from redundant submarines must be stored safely
A plan to dispose of nuclear submarines near one of the UK's largest national parks has been withdrawn following objections by the local council.

Sir Robert McAlpine Limited had proposed the break-up and storage of nuclear materials at a disused fabrication yard in Argyll.

But Argyll and Bute Council opposed the development in what it said was an area of unspoiled countryside.

The site is close to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Four other companies are bidding to do the work at other sites. A final decision is due in 2006.

This proposal has been unacceptable to Argyll and Bute and we left the company in no doubt about that
Allan Mcaskill
Argyll and Bute Council leader
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 11 September that Sir Robert McAlpine's submission was one of many being considered around the UK.

Every nuclear submarine contains a mini nuclear power station about the size of two double-decker buses.

When one is decommissioned, the fuel is removed and taken to Sellafield but the compartment containing the reactor remains onboard and is still highly radioactive.

Argyll and Bute Council leader Allan Mcaskill said it had succeeded in blocking the proposal where other councils had failed.

He said: "I'm really pleased with the result. The council has been in constant contact with McAlpine since the announcement of its proposals for Ardyne.

"This proposal has been unacceptable to Argyll and Bute and we left the company in no doubt about that.

Public consultation

"We really don't want this sort of development in unspoiled countryside, at the very gateway to our national park, where tourism is a major industry."

Local councillor Dick Walsh said McAlpine had agreed to develop the site "in a more sympathetic way".

The other companies bidding to land the work are:

  • Devenport Royal Dockyard Ltd proposing to carry out reactor separation on some or all of the submarines at Rosyth and store them at Sellafield in Cumbria

  • British Nuclear Fuels proposing to remove reactor compartments (RCs) from submarines at Devenport and Rosyth, and store them at Sellafield

  • Serco Assurance, Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd proposes removing RCs to a "suitable" but unnamed location

  • Babcock Support Services and Motherwell Bridge Nuclear propose the break-up of submarines at Rosyth and store them at Coulport, Dunbartonshire, or Sellafield

Launching the public consultation exercise last month, Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach said he was determined to hear the public's views.

He said it was not an exclusive list and other options could be considered in the future.

Concern over nuclear sub disposal
08 Sep 03  |  Scotland

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