Daily Archives: March 26, 2013

Decision to test the dismantling of nuclear submarines in Rosyth ‘right’

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A proposal to put the dismantling of redundant nuclear submarines to the test at Rosyth in Fife is the “right decision”, the local MP Thomas Docherty has said.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne has announced that redundant nuclear submarine dismantling would be trialled in Rosyth. If the process works, the remainder of the UK’s retired nuclear fleet will be cut up in both Plymouth and Rosyth.

But he announced a further consultation on where intermediate-level nuclear waste would be stored, widening the choice to include commercial and other defence sites.

The consultation will start next year, and the Rosyth pilot will not go ahead until a storage site has been identified.

Seven redundant nuclear submarines are thought to have been stored at Rosyth since the 1990s. Eight submarines are berthed at Devonport, with others due to come out of active service in the future.

Mr Docherty said: “What the MoD is saying – and I think most people in the community would agree – is that the safest most practical way is to dismantle the submarines at the two sites. I don’t think there’s widespread opposition to that. The bit that’s more controversial is what happens to the nuclear materials. The MoD have said nothing will happen until storage has been approved. ”

However, SNP Lochgelly and Cardenden Fife councillor Ian Chisholm said he was concerned Rosyth could be left as a nuclear dump for 20 years.

He said: “It’s the things that are not in the report’s conclusions I worry about not the things that are in it.

“It’s a bit of a fudge in that we are still years away from getting rid of this radiation hazard from Rosyth.

“I had hoped the hulks would be towed complete, down to Devonport where they belong and where they were serviced when Rosyth lost out on the work and kobs. It is now the MoD’s decision to dismantle one sub’s radioactive pressure vessel on site at Rosyth. The only plus point is they have decided the pressure vessel should be removed in one piece but the fly in the ointment is where that piece should be stored.

“The MoD now say that if the pilot is successful the remaining subs will be dismanted at both Rosyth and Devonport but I take that with a pinch of salt. From previous MoD discussions it seems the pressure vessels are too “hot” to go straight to long term storage and would need to cool for 20 years above ground.

“But depressingly the subs will stay exactly as they are until a suitable Intermediate Level Waste site is selected.”

MoD programme manager John Davis said: “Decisions have now been taken, subject to regulatory and other statutory approvals, on where the initial phases of submarine dismantling will take place…

“No radioactive waste will be removed from the submarines, however, without a disposal or storage solution being agreed.”

Source – The Courier

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Nazi submarine found off Norway (U-486)

U-486

Type

VIIC

Ordered 5 Jun 1941
Laid down 8 May 1943 Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel (werk 321)
Launched 12 Feb 1944
Commissioned 22 Mar 1944 Oblt. Gerhard Meyer
Commanders
22 Mar 1944 12 Apr 1945 Oblt.  Gerhard Meyer
Career 2 patrols
22 Mar 1944 31 Oct 1944   5. Flottille (training)
1 Nov 1944 12 Apr 1945   11. Flottille (active service)
Successes 2 ships sunk, total tonnage 17,651 GRT 1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,085 tons 1 warship a total loss, total tonnage 1,085 tons
Fate Sunk 12 April, 1945 in the North Sea north-west of Bergen, Norway, in position 60.44N, 04.39E by torpedoes from the British submarine HMS Tapir. 48 dead (all hands lost).

Nazi submarine found off Norway

The wreck of a German World War II submarine that was sunk with 48 people on board has been found off Norway’s coast during work on an oil pipe, a maritime museum official said Monday.

The “U-486” was torpedoed and broken in two by a British submarine in April 1945 shortly after leaving the western Norwegian town of Bergen, according to Arild Maroey Hansen of the Bergen maritime museum.

There were no survivors.

Lying at a depth of some 250 metres (820 feet), the wreck was found when Norwegian oil company Statoil was scouting the area as a possible location to lay down an oil pipe.

“The submarine had a special coating on the hull. It was a synthetic rubber coating designed to significantly reduce its radar signal,” Maroey Hansen told Norwegian public radio NRK.

The “U-486” lies some two kilometres (1.25 miles) from the German “U-864” submarine, which was also sunk in 1945 with dozens of tonnes of mercury on board, a dangerous cargo which has caused politicians headaches for years.

They have been examining how to best limit the environmental risks posed by the mercury, hesitating between whether to lift the wreck — it is also broken in two parts — or to cover it in a hard sarcophagus.

General notes on U-486

24 Dec 1944. Sinking of SS Leopoldville On Christmas Eve 1944 U-486 torpedoed the SS Leopoldville in the English Channel 5 miles from the port of Cherbourg, France. The troopship was transporting 2235 American soldiers from regiments of the 66th Infantry Division. The ship finally sank 2 1/2 hours later.  Everything that could, went wrong: calls for help were mishandled, rescue craft were slow to the scene and the weather was unfavourable. 763 American soldiers died that night, making this the worst loss an American infantry division suffered from a U-boat attack during the war.

The Allied authorities were embarrassed by the incident and decided to bury the case. Many loved ones were told the men were missing in action although they were already dead by then, later to be classified as killed in action. The files were not opened to the public until 1996.

U-486 had not said her last word, as she sank the British frigates HMS Affleck and Capel only two days later in the same area, before returning on 15 Jan, 1945 to Bergen, Norway.

Source – Global Post

Source – U-Boat Net