Tag Archives: Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator

UK – Nuclear submarines banned on two lochs following safety failures

DEFENCE watchdogs took action after Navy exercises at Loch Goil and Loch Ewe showed up inadequate plans in the event of accidents.

HMS Ambush
HMS Ambush
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NUCLEAR submarines have been banned from two lochs over safety fears.

Three Royal Navy exercises to test responses to simulated submarine accidents in March and April failed assessments by Government safety regulators.

And the MoD’s internal watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), have responded by imposing the ban.

It prohibits nuclear subs from berthing in Loch Goil, near the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, and in Loch Ewe in Wester Ross.

Nuclear subs have been banned from Loch Goil

Loch Goil

 Loch Goil is used for testing the noise range of the Navy’s 11 nuclear subs to ensure they can navigate oceans undetected.

But the DNSR are demanding a satisfactory rerun of Exercise Strathport, which was staged last month, before the subs are allowed in the loch again.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation, who work with the DNSR, said: “Exercise Strathport was deemed an inadequate demonstration as their plan was considered inadequate.

“This needs to be revised and reissued, after which the DNSR and ONR will reinspect as a basis for providing consent to use Loch Goil on a case-by-case basis.”

Nuclear subs have been banned from Loch Ewe

Loch Ewe

Emergency exercises at Loch Ewe have been plagued with problems for years, prompting the DNSR to secretly ban submarines from the loch in 2008.

An exercise late last year failed “due to an inadequate plan, communications and facilities”, said the ONR spokesman.

The DNSR have also ordered an emergency exercise at the nuclear weapons depot at Coulport, near Faslane, to be rerun.

The specifics of the exercises are classified so it is not known what failures were recorded. But in past exercises, there have been communication breakdowns, radiation exposure risks and
failures to properly account for the number of casualties.

John Ainslie, of Scottish CND, said: “We cannot sleep easily in our beds so long as these floating Chernobyls remain in our lochs. The MoD has been given a red card by its own internal regulator. It is clearly not ready to respond to a nuclear accident at Coulport, Loch Goil or Loch Ewe.”

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson promised to raise questions in Parliament.

He said: “Any suggestion that there are inadequate safety plans in place will be deeply disturbing to the local communities and to Scotland as a whole.”

The MoD last night declined to say what impact the loch bans might have on their submarine operations.

A spokesman said: “The MoD takes its nuclear safety responsibilities seriously and conducts regular training to maintain high standards.

“We are taking steps to address issues raised by regulators following recent exercises but there is no risk of harm to the public or to the environment. The Royal Navy continues to operate submarines safely out of HM Naval Base Clyde.”

Source – Daily Record

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Devonport – Nuclear accident at Dockyard “would cause thousands of deaths” campaigners say

  1. HMS Vanguard, one of the Trident-carrying submarines, arriving at Devonport naval base

    HMS Vanguard, one of the Trident-carrying submarines, arriving at Devonport naval base

THE Ministry of Defence has not ruled out the possibility of moving Britain’s nuclear armed submarines to the Devonport naval base, despite safety concerns from campaigners.

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) asked the MOD whether the fleet of armed Vanguard class submarines carrying Trident missiles could move from its current home in Faslane in Scotland to Devonport.

The response stated that neither the Devonport Naval Base nor the dockyard would safely permit the berthing of an armed Vanguard submarine.

But the campaigners were also told the MOD’s internal safety watchdog, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator, “has not provided any advice” on the feasibility of docking a Vanguard class submarine at Devonport.

John Ainslie, co-ordinator of Scottish CND, has drawn up a report looking at the risk of nuclear contamination in Plymouth in the event of a serious accident.

He told The Herald: “If Scotland were to go independent there are questions over what would happen to Trident. I have always been a bit wary about how easy it would be to move them.

“I was thinking they would have real problems basing them at Devonport because of the whole safety issue.

“You have got such a high population close to the submarine base at Devonport, there would be a very serious risk of fatalities and so forth.

“A missile accident at Devonport, in the centre of Plymouth, could result in thousands of deaths.

“In addition, a large proportion of the city would be abandoned for hundreds of years.”

Scotland is due to vote on independence in 2014, and the SNP has stated it hopes to remove Trident missiles from Faslane.

But an MOD spokesman said there are currently no plans to move the submarine fleet.

Ian Ballantyne, editor of Warships magazine, said in the event of Scottish independence Devonport would be the only feasible alternative for the submarines.

“They already spend years of their lives here, they already come and go and get re-fitted at Devonport,” he said.

“If Scotland goes independent and says ‘take your nuclear submarines away’ then they would have to operate from Devonport. “There is no way if we are a nation that operates nuclear submarines they would go anywhere else.”

Source – This is Plymouth