News from the SDP Advisory Group Meeting 22 October 2009

At the meeting in Edinburgh NSubF reps were told that the MOD had written to elected representatives (MP’s and Councillors) for two potential submarine dismantling sites and 12 potential storage sites. They are offering to hold meetings with the elected reps to brief them on the Stategic Environmental Assessment by the end of November. Next summer there will be a nationwide public consultation on the MODs recommended option for how to dismantle the submarines and the recommended sites for dismantling and storage.

Ministerial Statement 6 May 2009

Defence. Maritime Change Programme

The ISOLUS Project, which is the work under way to develop the solution for the dismantling and recycling of our nuclear submarines, continues to make good progress. We remain committed to complying with legislation and Government policy and will be conducting further research, assessments and consultation before any final recommendations are made. We are on track to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment later this year, including a period of public consultation. After the Strategic Environmental Assessment it is also our intention to establish a demonstrator programme to optimise the process to dismantle and recycle as much material as feasibly possible from our submarines after they have left Royal Navy service, and to examine issues such as how to reuse the reclaimed material in the future. It has been decided, after consultation with stakeholder groups, that the project will be renamed the
Submarine Dismantling Project to reflect more accurately the scope and future direction of our work in this important area. I expect the next announcement, outlining the proposed dismantling and storage solution, to be made in 2010.

Full Statement in Hansard

MP: N-sub scrap work should be given ‘informed consideration’ – 21 Oct 09

The Ministry of Defence announced it will host a meeting in Plymouth on Friday over the controversial Submarine Dismantling Project, which could see 27 submarines stored and cut up in Devonport over the next 60 years.

The announcement prompted vigorous opposition to the plan from council leader Vivien Pengelly and Conservative MP Gary Streeter, as reported in The Herald yesterday.

Mrs Gilroy called for “an open, transparent and informed consultation,” and said there was a need to understand more about the work involved.

She said: “Certainly if it is about securing more work for the highly skilled, high quality work force – the kind of which the Dockyard excels at – this could be welcome.”

But Mrs Gilroy said she wanted to know about any additional risks the project might bring to the city, and how it might fit in with Plymouth’s ambitions for growth in other sectors.

Mrs Gilroy added: “One thing I do know is that the surest way of driving work away from the dockyard is to make the Ministry of Defence and Babcock feel that Plymouth is not prepared to give serious and informed consideration to something related to one of the key sectors of its economy.”

The MoD says no decision has yet been made on where the project would take place, or where the radioactive waste would be stored before it is moved to a national storage centre in about 2040.

Full article Plymouth Herald 21 Oct 2009

Mp call on Government to’think again’ – 17 Oct 09

There are still seven decommissioned subs at the dockyard and Mr Rennie has expressed his concern at discovering plans have been mooted to shortlist the site as part of the submarine dismantling project (SDP). He has received a letter from armed forces minister Bill Rammell which states that locations have been identified fordismantling submarines. Rosyth is one of them.

Full Article: The Courier 17 Oct 2009

Nuclear Submarine Forum Policy

Nuclear Submarine Forum Policy on Submarine Decommisioning

1. The UK should end the practice of powering its submarines with nuclear reactors. There is no solution to the problem of dealing with nuclear waste, so the first priority should be to stop making more. This means no new submarine reactors and also decommissioning existing ones, so that no more spent submarine reactor nuclear waste fuel is created.

Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

2. Decommissioned nuclear submarines cannot be left afloat, where any radioactive leaks will quickly be dispersed through the environment. Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

3. Any interim storage option should use best available techniques for the containment of nuclear waste to prevent any leaks of radioactivity into the environment. The least-bad option is above-ground managed, monitored retrievable storage on land. This would be for an indefinite (i.e. currently unknown and undefined) period into the future, so that current generations can begin and continue to implement the best available techniques for containment. Included in the Consultation Recommendations five times

4. Existing sites should be used to manage radioactive wastes.  No new sites, or extension to existing sites should be contaminated.

Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

5. Radioactive wastes should be concentrated and contained, not diluted and dispersed.  For example, radioactively contaminated scrap from decommissioned nuclear submarines should not be dispersed via the metals recycling industry. This means that Submarine Reactor compartments should be stored intact for the interim and not cut into or chopped up.

Included in the Consultation Recommendations three times

6. All information relevant to decisions on the management of all nuclear wastes should be made fully transparent and publicly available for deliberative public consultation, and public involvement in decision-making.

Included in the Consultation Recommendations nine times

7. An open transparent site selection process involving the public to identify the most suitable existing nuclear site(s) to store existing nuclear wastes arising from the decommissioning of nuclear powered submarines. Safety must be the priority in selecting methods and sites

Included in the Consultation Recommendations five times

8. Policy should be adopted which prioritises environmental and public safety and minimises transports of nuclear wastes.

Included in the Consultation Recommendations once

Up-dated October 2009

Story So Far

1982 HMS Dreadnought (the first British nuclear powered submarine) laid up at Chatham dockyard.
1983 Dreadnought towed to Rosyth after closure of Chatham dockyard.
2000 Total of eleven nuclear powered submarines now laid up between Rosyth and Devonport. The MOD established Project ISOLUS (Interim Storage of Laid Up Submarines) to decide what to do with them until such time as a permanent repository might become available. Unprecedentedly, it announced it was going to consult publicly and openly all the way through the Project. Di McDonald joined its Front End Consultation Steering Group (FESG), as a member of the Nuclear Information Service. Formation of Nuclear Submarine Forum (NSubF) to draw together NGO’s views. The ‘Consultation Steering Group’ (CSG) was established as a sub-group of the Front-End Public Consultation Steering Group.
2001 Lancaster University’s Centre for the Study of Environmental Change conducted for the Project its “Front-End Public Consultation” (FEC). The FEC report was published in November 2001 and contained 65 recommendations
2003 MOD ran an Industry Day to sell ISOLUS project and ask for outline proposals on how to deal with the submarines promising multiple engagement methods and reaffirming public accountability and openness The second public consultation “Consultation into Outline Proposals” (CIOP) carried out by Lancaster University. Events held at all the sites proposed by contractors. Peter Lanyon took over as NSubF rep on the CSG
May 2004 CIOP report issued with 50 recommendations.
Feb 2005 Minister announced that no further work on sites would take place until The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) had reported in Summer 2006. CoRWM was tasked with recommending a way of managing all the ’s higher activity solid radioactive waste including that from the laid-up submarines. The MOD responded in detail to the CIOP report having consulted other government departments (OGDs), devolved administrations and Industry
July 2005 Consultation Steering Group closed in spite of serious reservations expressed by members.
Oct 2005 MOD ISOLUS Steering Group (MISG) was set up so that the MOD takes charge of the project. Peter Lanyon was now asked to represent NGOs on MISG by MOD.
July 2006 CoRWM recommended that the ’s high and intermediate nuclear waste should be dealt with by deep geological disposal and should be in robust interim stores until that was ready.
July 2007 Setting up of ISOLUS Advisory Group (IAG), to scrutinise and advise on anything the MISG did, especially in the way of public consultations. Peter Lanyon, Di McDonald, Jane Tallents and Ian Avent represent the NGO’s.
Summer 2008 Fraser Nash conducted Technical Options Study (TOS), with a Sub-Group of IAG, on three options for ISOLUS: Cutting out and storing the reactor compartments intact Cutting up the reactor compartments into large chunks and storing them Cutting up the reactor compartments into smaller chunks, including cutting up the reactor and storing them in Nirex boxes. (Report still not issued Oct 2009)
Nov 2008 MOD announced rebranding of ISOLUS as the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP), without IAG advice MOD ISOLUS Steering Group (MISG) renamed Submarine Dismantling Project Steering Group (SDP SG) ISOLUS Advisory Group renamed Submarine Dismantling Project Advisory Group (SDP AG)
March 2009 MOD announce SEA to be conducted summer 09 and public consultation autumn 09 on their choice of option and site
Green Issues Communications appointed as SDP conveners without IAG advise
June 2009 Consultation Sub-Group set up. Peter Lanyon representing NSubF
Sept 2009 Consultation Sub-Group told of postponement of planned Public Consultation.
Oct 2009

Advisory Group told that 2 potential sites had been identified for dismantling and 12 for potential waste storage

Local authorities for these offered presentations in preparation for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) statutory consultation process. Stories appear in the press.

June 2010

Government bodies consulted on scope of SEA

Feb 2011

SDP Technical Options Study Report published on SDP website

Location of RN Submarines

Whereabouts of Royal Navy Submarines as of 14 February 2014

Laid up Submarines In Rosyth

  • Dreadnought – Dreadnought class – Decommisioned 1982
  • Churchill – Churchill class – Decommisioned 1990
  • Swiftsure – Swiftsure class – Decommisioned 1991
  • Revenge – Resolution class – Decommisioned 1992
  • Resolution – Resolution class – Decommisioned 1992
  • Renown – Resolution class – Decommisioned 1996
  • Repulse – Resolution class – Decommisioned 1996

Laid up Submarines In Devonport

  • Warspite – Valiant class – Decommisioned 1990
  • Conqueror – Churchill class – Decommisioned 1990
  • Courageous – Churchill class – Decommisioned 1991
  • Valiant – Valiant class – Decommisioned 1994
  • Splendid – Swiftsure class – Decommisioned 2003
  • Sovereign – Swiftsure class – Decommisioned 2006
  • Spartan – Swiftsure class – Decommisioned 2006
  • Superb – Swiftsure class – Decommisioned 2008
  • Trafalgar – Trafalgar class – Decommissioned 2009
  • Sceptre – Swiftsure class – Decommissioned 2010
  • Turbulent – Trafalgar class – Decommissioned 2011

In Service Submarines at Faslane

  • Vanguard – Vanguard class – Out of Service Date 2022
  • Victorious – Vanguard class – Out of Service Date 2024
  • Vigilant – Vanguard class – Out of Service Date 2025
  • Vengeance – Vanguard class – Out of Service Date 2028 (currently in refit in Devonport)

In Service Submarines at Devonport (Due to be moved to Faslane from 2014)

  • Tireless – Trafalgar class – Out of Service Date 2013 (now extended)
  • Torbay – Trafalgar class – Out of Service Date 2017
  • Trenchant – Trafalgar class – Out of Service Date 2019
  • Talent – Trafalgar class – Out of Service Date 2021
  • Triumph – Trafalgar class – Out of Service Date 2022

The Nuclear Submarine Forum (NSubF) is a network of NGO’s, groups and individuals who have an interest in the dismantling of the 27 Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines