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