Consultation announced in House of Commons

Submarine Dismantling Project

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Peter Luff): The Ministry of Defence will tomorrow— 8 October 2011—start a period of public consultation on the options for dismantling nuclear-powered submarines that have left service with the Royal Navy, including those that are in afloat storage at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards.

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Submarines in afloat storage are maintained safely, in a similar way to operational submarines. As they age, however, and as further submarines leave service, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining them is rising significantly, and space to store them is running out.

This consultation will seek the public’s views on the proposals that have been developed by the MOD’s Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) for dismantling and disposing of the submarines in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible way. It will seek views on the three key decisions that need to be made about submarine dismantling:

How the radioactive material is removed from the submarines;

Where we carry out the removal of the radioactive material from the submarines; and

Which type of site is used to store the radioactive waste that is awaiting disposal.

The consultation will run for 16 weeks, from 28 October 2011 until 17 February 2012. This period has been extended from the 12-week minimum to account for the Christmas holidays and in recognition of the interest in the project.

A series of events, including exhibitions and workshops, will be held in and around the Devonport and Rosyth areas, where the candidate sites for the removal of the radioactive waste from the submarines are located. National workshops will also be held in accessible locations in England and Scotland.

Consultation events will be advertised in the local press and on the project website, www.mod.uk/submarinedismantling, where all relevant documentation, including extensive supporting information, will also be published. All the responses received during the consultation process will be considered by the MOD during its further analysis of the options before final decisions are made around 2013. Only then will planning applications for activities on specific sites be made.

Details of the MOD’s proposals and of the plans for public consultation are included in the SDP consultation document, copies of which will be placed in the Library of the House.