Tag Archives: HMS Resolution

Fears over Rosyth nuclear submarine waste

The issue of storing retired nuclear submarine at Rosyth has been a source of anger.

SCOTLAND has been chosen for the pilot project to break up some of Britain’s old nuclear submarines, prompting fears it could become a dumping ground for radioactive waste.


Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials will test the removal of reactors in Rosyth, but politicians and anti-nuclear campaigners have hit out at the plans, fearing nuclear waste will be dumped in the area.

A total of 27 submarines are to be dismantled at UK naval bases, with one at Rosyth the first to be cut up.

The Fife yard has been home to the old vessels for years, but concerns have been raised that the site could become a toxic dump after the MoD ordered the “demonstration of the radioactive waste removal process”.

However, the pilot will not go ahead until a storage facility for the waste is identified and further consultation is undertaken, expected to start next year.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP said: “The Ministry of Defence’s approach to nuclear safety in Scotland clearly leaves a lot to be desired.

“Instead of experimenting with cutting up these submarines and worrying about the consequences later, the MoD needs to put a credible plan in place for what to do with the radioactive parts of these subs before it begins work.”

The Nuclear Submarine Forum, a coalition of pressure groups, has called for an end to building such vessels until a proper way of dealing with the resulting waste is found.

Jane Tallents of the forum, said: “Communities and local councils close to the Rosyth and Devonport have said clearly that the dockyards are not suitable sites for the storage of radio- active waste from submarine dismantling. We will be watching the MoD to ensure they stick to their promise that no radioactive waste will be removed from submarines until a storage solution has been agreed.”

There are seven retired vessels understood to be at Rosyth: Britain’s first nuclear submarine, HMS Dreadnought, HMS Churchill, HMS Resolution, HMS Repulse, HMS Renown, HMS Revenge and HMS Swiftsure. Another eight are in Devonport, in south-west England, including the Churchill-class HMS Conqueror, which sank the Belgrano during the Falklands War in 1982.

More vessels are due for decommissioning, bringing the total to at least 27.

Minister of state for defence equipment, support and technology, Philip Dunne, said the most radioactive part of a submarine – the 70-tonne reactor pressure vessel – will be removed intact and stored whole.

He added that an interim storage site for “intermediate level waste” – the classification for the fuel that once powered the nuclear vessels – could be found in any “UK nuclear licensed and authorised sites that might be suitable”.

More than 1200 people were consulted before the MoD made the decision, said a spokeswoman.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) regulates the disposal of nuclear waste in Scotland, as laid out under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. The MoD is largely exempt from the act, but insisted it would work with Sepa on the pilot at Rosyth.

A Sepa spokeswoman said: “Now that Rosyth has been selected, we will require any radioactive waste generated at Rosyth to be properly disposed of.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government declined to comment, directing The Scotsman instead to the SNP.

Source – Scotsman


Oldest surviving submarine commander passes away


Galway said goodbye this week to Commander Bill King of Oranmore Castle, who passed away last Friday at the age of 102.

Galway said goodbye this week to Commander Bill King of Oranmore Castle, who passed away last Friday at the age of 102.

One of Galway’s best-loved characters, Commander King was the oldest surviving World War submarine commander and led a life of adventure as a navel officer, yachtsman and author.

Having joined the Royal Navy on HMS Resolution in 1927, he worked his way up through the ranks before patrolling the North Sea during World War II as Commanding Officer of the T-class submarine HMS Telemachus.

Retiring from the service in 1948, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Battle of Britain Star, the Burma Star and the Arctic Emblem.

After his retirement, Commander King married his wife Anita and moved to Oranmore Castle after buying it for just £200 and setting about refurbishing the dilapidated building to its former condition.

Speaking to the Galway Independent in 2008, he recalled “getting up one day to find my father-in-law, who used to always wear a kilt, sweeping dead fish out of the Great Hall”.

Commander King is perhaps best known for becoming the oldest sailor to complete a single-handed circumnavigation of the world, carrying out the amazing feat on his third attempt at the age of 58.

However, it was his passion for life and sense of humour that will be remembered by many, telling a Galway Independent journalist in a previous interview that living forever would be no good as “you’re always cold”.

Survived by daughter Leonie, son Tarka and grandchildren Cian, William, Heather and Olivia, Commander King was laid to rest on Monday following a funeral service at the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas on Lombard Street.

Source – Galway Independent