News

PM Urged To Fund Recycling Of UK's Old Nuclear Submarines

A cross-party campaign is requesting funding to recycle all of Britain's old nuclear submarines currently tied up alongside in Devonport and...

There are calls for the Prime Minister to fund the recycling of disused Royal Navy nuclear submarines, in a letter written by MPs.

A cross-party campaign wants to initiate a programme to recycle all of Britain's old subs, currently tied up alongside in Devonport and Rosyth.

In January, the government announced a fresh search to determine a suitable site where nuclear radioactive material from retired Royal Navy submarines could be stored.

Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Trudy Harrison, Conservative MP for Copeland and Douglas Chapman, Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for Dunfermline and West Fife have all written to the Prime Minister urging her to make funds available.

They say their proposal could support hundreds of jobs and the training of apprentices.

There are 13 decommissioned submarines at Devonport, including HMS Courageous - a former nuclear submarine now preserved as a museum.

Seven more disused nuclear submarines are in Rosyth dockyard, the same site where HMS Prince of Wales is being built.

Luke Pollard, MP said: "We need a proper (sic) funded plan and using the same principles as civil nuclear clean-up to safely, sustainably and securely recycle the out of service nuclear submarines would be a sound idea.

"I expect most people will be surprised to learn that every old nuclear submarine the Royal Navy ever has, we still have.

"It is time to fund a proper dismantling and recycling programme and as the principles and funding already exist for civilian sites, extending that to these subs makes perfect sense."

Nuclear recycling programme letter
Nuclear recycling programme letter

Trudy Harrison MP, said: "It is surely our responsibility to prioritise the safe clean-up of these submarines.

"This is important for our generation and future generations and we must take responsibility."

Douglas Chapman MP, said: "Submarine recycling should be seen as a new economic opportunity to spread our expertise and intellectual property around the globe."

The letter has also been sent to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Vince Cable MP, Liberal Democrats leader.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

"We have capacity for safely storing all our T Class submarines, including those in service today, and are committed to ensuring that all dismantling is undertaken in a safe, secure, cost-effective and environmentally sound manner.

"It has also created 60 new jobs with people employed in a range of highly skilled roles.

"Our dismantling project is making good progress, with over 50 tonnes of radioactive waste removed from the demonstrator submarine since it commenced in December 2016."