Nuclear submarine dismantling at Devonport and Fife sites recommended

image captionSeven disused submarines are stored at Rosyth dockyard and 10 at Devonport

The Ministry of Defence has revealed it wants to dismantle nuclear submarines stored at Devonport in Plymouth and Rosyth in Fife at both sites.

Ten decommissioned submarines are currently stored at Devonport and seven at Rosyth - 10 remain in service.

The MoD said its preferred option was to "undertake initial dismantling at both Devonport and Rosyth".

However a consultation document issued earlier said dismantling at Rosyth was the "least attractive option".

The document for the Submarine Dismantling Project said this would involve transporting 20 submarines to Scotland.

'Responsible operator'

"Dismantling at Devonport only, on the other hand, remains a more reasonable proposition," the report said.

On its website the MoD said the work would include removing all radioactive material, mainly metalwork, which had become radioactive during use.

Radioactive waste which cannot be disposed of immediately would be placed into storage and the submarine hull recycled.

The MoD said the submarines needed to be dismantled because storage space would run out by 2020 and the cost of maintaining them was increasing.

It said: "As a responsible nuclear operator, we believe that dealing with the legacy now, rather than leaving future generations to do so, is the responsible course of action."

Thomas Docherty, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife said his main concern was how the community would benefit.

"I have an open mind on dismantling. I've made it clear that I have to see the community benefit.

"The ball is in the SNPs [Scottish National Party] court really. We need to decide whether it's right for the community to dismantle."

He said there was "no danger of Devonport submarines coming here. That's a red line. There's no way the Scottish minister would sign off licences."

Earlier, Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moorview and the shadow defence secretary, said the work was "probably a lower risk" than work carried out at the dockyard in recent years.

Consultation events

"On the safety side I'm not overly concerned. We have such expertise in that dockyard and it is so rigorously supervised. I would prefer the work is done where the expertise was.

"I think the MoD have some concerns about moving those submarines [from Rosyth]. It would be expensive, it would probably have to be towed, would you need to take on that additional expense when Rosyth could do the job?"

A 16-week public consultation into the Submarine Dismantling Project started earlier.

It will include a series of local events which will take place in Plymouth, Torpoint, Saltash, Rosyth, Dunfermline and Edinburgh, as well as national events in Birmingham and Glasgow.

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