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Water Softener Size: What Do You Need for Your Home?

Many homeowners go overboard when choosing the best water softener for their home. It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to buy a water softening system that’s way too big for their home. Most people believe that bigger is better. Well, that’s not the case when it comes to water softeners. You can easily end up wasting lots of money by buying a softener that’s too big. The reason for that is you’ll end up using too much salt when it’s not needed.

Determine the hardness of your water

The term hardness may seem a bit odd when it comes to describing water. It merely refers to the number of minerals in your water. Have you noticed white sediment around spigots in your house? The reason for that is the minerals in the water. A water softener system will remove these minerals. You will need to have your water tested to see how hard it is. The test is simple, and there are quite a few people in your area that can do it. It will only require them to take a sample of your water, and they’ll determine how hard it is. The hardness of your water will determine what type of system you buy.

Calculate how much water you use per day

This is the easy part, and it’s essential that you know how much water you’re using. You need to know so that you buy a system that uses enough salt. You could easily end up buying a system that’s too big or too small by guessing here. Take a look at your water bill and then see how much water you’re using on a daily. These numbers along with the hardness of your water will determine the type of system required to make sure your water is as soft as possible.

Don’t be shy about asking questions

All of this is pretty straight forward, but it can be confusing to a new homeowner. It could also be quite a hassle if you haven’t bought a system in quite some time. Any sales representative who is worth dealing with will be able to answer all of your questions. They go through this all the time with people who are unsure of what to buy. You can even have someone come to your house and set it all up. The process in itself may be kind of confusing at first, but it gets easier over time. It won’t be long until you’re an expert answering all the questions that your friends and family have.

It’s all about the numbers

Let the numbers guide you when buying a new softener system. The first thing you need to do is determine the hardness of your water. After that, you figure out how much water your house uses daily. These two things are the main factors when choosing the right system. The only other thing that comes into play is the budget you have for a system. There are systems for every budget and finding the right one for yours won’t be difficult at all. It’ll only be a matter of determining how difficult the job is and allowing that information to guide you.

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How to Recycle Plastic Bottles in a Creative Way

Plastic bottles are one of the most harmful things in our society. The manufacture of plastic is doubling and tripling each year. So 91% of them go into the garbage and become major reasons of pollution. We have crossed the line where plastic awareness was just an environmental activity. We are in a phase where it is an obligation to each and every one of us to recycle plastic for our race to survive. So in this article, we are going to see how we can recycle the plastic bottles in a creative way.

And the first and foremost step to recycle them is to gather them and not throw them away in the garbage, which will most probably be dumped in wastelands or oceans. And then you are going to use them again in your day to day life in a creative way. Thus we can prevent ourselves from consuming more plastic.

Plastic Plant Vase

plastic vase

One of the ways in which a plastic bottle is a massive hindrance to the environment is by settling in the soil and ruining the growth of the plants. So the first and best way to recycle plastic would be to give back what it took in the first place. That will be growing plants in the plastic bottles. Many plants like Aloe vera, Mint, Basil, ferns thrive well in plastic bottles. In fact, most of the plants that do not grow strong and deep roots. To grow a plant in a plastic bottle,

  1. Take a plastic bottle of your choice. For that matter, any plastic containers bottles, Ice Cream tubs, Yogurt tubs, milk cans, etc.
  2. Cut one-third of the bottle from the top.
  3. Cover the bottom of the bottle with paper, waste cloth or any material that won’t let the light in. Light is bad for the roots.
  4. Fill one or two inches with compost.
  5. Place the plant inside the bottle. Continue to put compost till the roots are completely hidden.
  6. Water the plants regularly.

Water Sprinkler


It is yet another way to nourish nature using plastic. It is easy to make and very effective. To make a water sprinkler,

  1. Select a plastic bottle.
  2. Make multiple holes on the bottle. You can either make it in the bottom or on the cap.
  3. Fill the bottle with water
  4. Squeeze the bottle gently to sprinkle water on plants.

You can utilize it effectively by setting a challenge to the kids. Make them compete to water the plants. They would find it fun. Moreover, it’s a much required good habit to be cultivated in the future generation.

Bird Feeder

Bird Feeder

Birds are one of the creatures that are affected by the man-made revolutions. They have lost their home, food source due to the depleting vegetation. They are just disappearing. And one of the effortless way to help them would be by feeding them. To make a bird feeder,

  1. Select two bottles of your choice.
  2. Cut a square big enough to fit the bird, 2 inches above the bottom. You can use a marker to determine the size. And you can use a hot knife or a sharp blade to cut it out.
  3. Fill one bottle with bird food of your choice and another with water.
  4. Hang them in a place where birds can reach them.



People love fancy Plastic containers for everything. In the kitchen, for storing various food items, in the tables as stands and in many more ways just because they are cheap. You see them, you buy them. For no reason at all but because they were fancy. So let’s take a stand there and stop that spree shopping and use the already available bottles as containers. As pen stands, salt and sugar container, as jewel stands. There are no limitations. If you want them fancy, please spend some efforts and let your inner artist out. It will do good to your mental health too.

In this age, we are attached to plastics so much so that, using them seems natural and sensible. However, it is high time we take responsibility for the ruckus it has created in our world. We must give back what we took from this earth. For that, the least we could do is control plastic usage, use water softener and recycle our share of plastics. Its a small effort but makes a great difference. If you found this article useful, please share it to spread awareness and leave a comment with your thoughts.

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The Possibility of submarine dismantling at Rosyth not welcomed by all

There was mixed reaction on Thursday night when it was disclosed that Rosyth could be set to be the chosen base for dismantling nuclear submarines.

The move would see the west Fife site remove medium-level reactor contaminationcompartments from what it is believed to be around 27 submarines.

MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser gave his support to the possible move and said it would be “fantastic news” for Fife — but local politicians Councillor Bill Walker and Ian Chisholm both expressed concern at what may happen with the contaminated waste.

Devonport in Plymouth won the contract to refit the Trident submarine fleet in 1993.

Seven decommissioned submarines are currently at Rosyth and The Courier previously revealed that two of them sprang leaks in their outer hulls. The leaks were subsequently plugged.

It has been estimated that it costs the Ministry of Defence (MoD) around £1 million to store the submarines at Rosyth and now it has emerged that the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) has proposed Rosyth and Devonport as possible sites for dismantling additional nuclear submarines. Rosyth has a licensed store on its site.

The purpose of the SDP is to develop a solution for the disposal of the UK’s nuclear submarines after they have left service with the Royal Navy.

A statement issued by the SDP says, “The Submarine Dismantling Project is consulting certain government bodies on a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) that identifies and considers any potentially significant environmental effects of submarine dismantling activities.

“This second stage of statutory consultation will consider the detailed scope of the SEA including the names of potential candidate sites for the removal of the radioactive elements of the submarine — a process called ‘initial dismantling.’ These sites are Devonport and Rosyth royal dockyards.

“A further period of environmental assessment and analysis of the various options for submarine dismantling will follow statutory consultation to confirm the candidate sites for initial dismantling. This work will form the basis for public consultation which we are currently planning to undertake in the second half of 2011.

“Decisions on the project will only be taken once the MoD has completed its analysis, taking into account the SEA and public consultation responses.”

Mr Fraser said he believed it would be a massive boost to Fife if the contract came to Rosyth and stressed he has lodged a parliamentary motion backing Rosyth as the chosen base.

“It would be fantastic news for the Fife economy and the workforce based at the Rosyth dockyard if Rosyth was awarded the Submarine Dismantling Project,” he told The Courier. “This is a massive project and the MoD has identified either Rosyth or Devonport in England as the two potential sites.

“If Rosyth was awarded this project then it would be another boost to the area after retaining the aircraft carrier contract.

“As outlined in my parliamentary motion, Rosyth is home to one of the most highly skilled workforces for this type of work. We have a proud history in Fife working with the Royal Navy and I will continue to stand up for the local area and the local economy.”

Mr Fraser’s parliamentary motion reads: “That the Parliament notes that the Ministry of Defence has named Rosyth Royal Dockyard as one of the two potential sites for the Submarine Dismantling Project, along with Devonport Royal Dockyard; notes that the project has been established to dismantle 27 de-fuelled nuclear submarines after they have left service with the Royal Navy; believes that, should Rosyth be awarded the contract, it would bring a massive economic boost to Rosyth, Fife and Scotland; further believes that Rosyth is home to one of the most highly skilled workforces suited for this type of work and that there is a proud history and connection in Fife to the Royal Navy, and hopes that Rosyth is successful in winning the Submarine Dismantling Project.”

However, the move was not welcomed by some local politicians, with Councillor Bill Walker, one of the representatives for the West Fife and coastal villages ward, saying he felt the submarines should be “towed away safely” to another area.

“I am not happy with this at all,” he said. “The existing subs at Rosyth are part of the UK Royal Navy and until such time as we know where they will bury this medium-level contamination, I will not be content with this.

“The term ‘dismantling’ is misleading as it’s not about breaking up the subs. It is about taking out medium-level radioactive contamination – the kind you get at hospitals and power stations.

“But you have the horrible possibility that the contamination could be buried around Rosyth and that would be a whole new problem as it could be dangerous. The contamination could be kept here for thousands of years, which is not good news at all for Rosyth.

“The SNP group on Fife Council are putting together a paper on this and it will be put to committee stage next month.”

Councillor Ian Chisholm, the SNP prospective parliamentary candidate for the Cowdenbeathward, which includes Rosyth, said something had to be done about the submarines, describing them as an “eyesore.”

“We have to do something with these hulks and we cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand,” he said. “I would not be against the irradiated parts of the hull being dismantled here in Rosyth, which could provide much-needed jobs.

“However, I am totally opposed to these parts being stored locally and would need reassurances that the longer-term storage of these parts would be at the facility in Cumbria.

“I would also want the hulls themselves to be towed away for breaking up at one of the commercial breakers’ yards. They have been an eyesore and a potential threat for far too long here and, considering they were never serviced here, brought little benefit to the local economy.”

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Submarine safety put at risk by budget cuts

A MINISTRY of Defence watchdog has said Devonport’s nuclear submarine fleet is being put at risk by staff shortages and budgets cuts.

A report by the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board says it cannot ensure Plymouth’s six Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarines “remain safe”. The “principal threats to safety” were a lack of money and a dearth of expertise, it said.

Trade-offs which were used to cope with shortages of reactor engineers and scientists by restricting their time ashore were becoming unmanageable, it added.

Board chairman Howard Mathers, said: “Looking ahead, I consider that sufficiency of resources, both money and staff complement, and the maintenance of a sustainable cadre of suitably competent staff (Royal Navy, MoD civilians and in industry partners) to be the principal threats to safety in the defence nuclear programmes in the medium term.”

The 2009 report, which has just surfaced, goes on: “The judgment last year was that some areas were barely resourced to deliver their outputs (including safety), with a considerable load on a small number of key individuals. Whilst it was considered then that availability might be traded to ‘remain safe’, the current view is the space to do this is now eroded, with the resilience of the submarine enterprise under threat and even the ability to recognise this at risk.”

A 14 per cent shortage of civilian safety experts – four points higher than in 2007 – plus a seven per cent shortage of submarine reactor engineers, who have been restricted to “minimum time ashore”, were also highlighted.

The 2008 and 2009 reports from the board, which regulates military nuclear operations, were marked “restricted” but have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Campaigners said it was “unforgivable” if safety was being jeopardised by budget cuts while defence experts said the “desperation” of the MoD to keep key navy personnel could be judged by the worth of “golden handcuff” deals.

Ian Avent, from the Campaign Against Nuclear Storage and Radiation, said: “There are clear examples which prove their safety processes don’t always work. The management processes aren’t as good as they are on paper. If that is down to manpower and money shortages then it is unforgivable.”

Naval expert Steve Bush, editor of the Liskeard-based Warship World, said problems with the retention of nuclear watchkeepers were long-standing.

The 2008 and 2009 reports reveal a deepening of concerns about the MoD’s nuclear safety management.

Reports from 2006 and 2007, released two weeks ago, also marked a shortage of qualified staff and cuts in funding as major problems for the Royal Navy.

They also highlighted 11 “potentially significant risks” across Britain’s nuclear licensed estate, including Devonport.

The reports also warned that attempts to minimise radioactive risks have been “weak”, while safety analysis was “inconsistent” and change management “poor”.

The MoD said it takes its nuclear responsibilities “extremely seriously” adding that “safety is our priority”.

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Should N-subs? be dismantled in city? Plymouth Herald 28 Oct 2011

ONE of the most controversial proposals to affect Plymouth in generations is set to be thrust firmly into the public domain from today.

The Ministry of Defence has today begun a 16-week consultation exercise exploring the options for dismantling decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.

The consultation aims to find a permanent home for The Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) – either in Plymouth, or Scotland.

Peter Luff MP, The Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, yesterday released a statement to the House of Commons regarding the SDP.

“Submarines in afloat storage are maintained safely, in a similar way to operational submarines,” he said.

“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 for dismantling and disposing of the submarines in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible way.”

There are currently 27 submarines (of past and current classes from Dreadnought to Vengeance) which could be dismantled.

As it stands Devonport and Rosyth in Scotland are the candidate sites for the project which will see radioactive waste removed from the submarines and taken away.

A series of events, including exhibitions, displays and workshops, will be held in and around Devonport and Rosyth.

National workshops will also be held in accessible locations in England and Scotland to inform people of the proposals.

There are three key decisions on which the MoD is seeking the public’s views:

How the radioactive waste is removed;

Where the radioactive waste is removed;

And options for storing the waste that cannot be disposed of immediately.

The main activities required to dismantle submarines include:

Initial Dismantling: All radioactive material on the submarine will be removed.

This is mainly metalwork inside the reactor compartment that has become radioactive during use.

Interim Storage: The radioactive waste that cannot be disposed of immediately will be placed into ‘interim’ storage, until a disposal solution is available sometime after 2040.

Ship-recycling: Once the radioactive material has been removed, the submarine hull will be broken up and recycled in a similar way to Royal Navy surface ships.

Any other hazardous waste will be disposed of through existing permitted disposal routes.

All the responses received during the consultation process will be considered by the MoD during its further analysis of the options.

A final decision will then be made and planning applications for the specific site will be submitted.

An announcement is expected to be made in 2013.

The consultation period will run from today until February 17 next year.

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.

Last night the Ministry of Defence said it could not provide details of where and when exactly the consultation events would be staged in the Plymouth area.

Further details of the events were today expected to be announced by the MoD.

Full details of the Submarine Dismantling Project are available on the website: www.mod.uk/submarinedismantling.

Event details are expected to be listed in full on this website.

YES: Peter Smith, Chairman of the industrial trade unions at Devonport Dockyard.

DEVONPORT is already a centre of excellence for submarine refits and we have one of the most highly trained work forces in this field anywhere in the world.

Ensuring that this expertise is retained in the Plymouth region is vital to both the wider economy and also more directly to the individuals concerned.

Not only is there an existing workforce of 4,000 employed by the submarine programme, but future apprentices depend on high quality engineering projects such as this to learn their trade and ensure a future career.

At a time when unemployment in Plymouth is at a 13-year high, the jobs provided by this project cannot be overlooked.

The nuclear industry is one of the most highly regulated in the world, and Devonport leads the way in many areas.

All work is carried out in a thoroughly controlled manner and closely monitored by the trade unions, to ensure neither workers or the local residents are exposed to any hazards.

The work involved in dismantling submarines is less hazardous than the routine work currently undertaken at the Dockyard.

The key is in the word “dismantling” – this is highly controlled engineering work, not some rough and ready, large scale ship breaking process.

There appears to be a concern that this work carries some form of risk which could affect Plymouth but in reality, this simply isn’t true.

All fuel is removed from the boats before any dismantling work commences leaving a series of very stable and “ordinary” components to be dismantled. In fact, the average operator involved in submarine dismantling will receive a radiation dose over the lifetime of the project only equivalent to one tenth of the average natural background dose that all of us receive in the South West of England every year.

The submarines are stored at Devonport already, so why wouldn’t we want to do this work that will provide valuable employment, and is less hazardous than our current work?

This project will actually reduce risk and not increase it. The submarines, and any waste generated through their dismantling, will ultimately be disposed of off site, therefore, removing the disused boats from Plymouth forever.

NO: Jeremy Guise, Chairman, City of Plymouth Unison.

SOMETIMES on a Monday morning, an eerie sound can be heard wailing across Plymouth as the alarms are tested at Devonport.

It provides both reassurance that safety procedures are in place – and a disconcerting reminder of the accident hazards behind the dockyard wall.

The proposed Submarine Dismantling Project represents a significant intensification of the hazard posed by the nuclear dockyard.

Whatever rigorous safety procedures are in place, no human activity is completely risk-free.

It is the magnitude of the consequences of a nuclear accident that make it unacceptable to locate such a facility in the middle of a city of 250,000 people.

Although nothing on the scale of Chernobyl or Fukushima, Devonport is not immune from accidents. There have been nine radioactive leaks since 1997.

The impact of a significant accident in the dockyard would be devastating.

It would not remain confined behind its walls but would affect a much wider area.

Within a few hundred metres of the dockyard wall there is a primary school and established residential communities.

Why then has Plymouth been chosen, as one of just two potential sites, to be worldwide guinea pigs for an unproven, and potentially dangerous technique, of removing the section of hull containing the reactor core of obsolete nuclear powered submarines and cutting it up into small pieces for selling as recyclable metal?

I believe it is primarily motivated by the large profits that Babcock and the other contractors hope to earn from this process.

In return for a few specialist jobs, Plymouth would become known as the ‘Sellafield of the South West’, a poor, blighted city that the rest of the world hurries through on its way to Cornwall.

There is an alternative.

We could, like the Americans, store the hull sections containing the nuclear reactors away from settlements and regenerate the dockyard to provide thousands of new marine engineering jobs making wave and wind power machines.

Public consultation on the submarine disposal has started.

This is the most important decision the city has faced in years. I hope all those who care for the future of this city raise their voices in opposition to this proposal.

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

PLYMOUTH MP Linda Gilroy says the city should give “serious and informed consideration” to plans to dismantle nuclear submarines at Devonport Naval Base.

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.

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Ministers have made the ‘Main Gate’ decision on the next steps to be taken in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) programme for addressing the legacy of the Royal Navy’s fleet of redundant nuclear powered submarines, announcing that submarine dismantling will take place at the Rosyth and Devonport naval dockyards and outlining the approach which will be used to select an interim storage site for radioactive waste from the submarines.

In its response to last year’s submarine dismantling consultation programme (online at http://bit.ly/WPqS5c), MoD has said that, as the first step in the dismantling programme, one of the ageing submarines currently in storage at Rosyth dockyard will be dismantled as a ‘demonstration’ pilot – although this work will not commence for several years yet.  During the demonstration the reactor pressure vessel from the submarine – the largest radioactively contaminated component in the reactor compartment – will be removed and stored whole. 

MoD has agreed to undertake further consultation in 2014 on selection of a site for storage of intermediate level radioactive waste generated from the submarine dismantling process.  On the basis of the results from public consultation, alongside recent legal advice, all existing nuclear sites in the UK, including those owned by MoD, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and industry, will be considered as candidate locations for storage of the waste.  The government eventually intends to place waste from submarines in an underground radioactive waste repository alongside civil stocks of radioactive waste.

If the Rosyth demonstration is successful, MoD will then undertake dismantling of all remaining out-of-service submarines at both Rosyth and Devonport dockyards.  The Ministry has promised that no intermediate level radioactive waste will be removed from the submarines – including the demonstration pilot – until a solution and location for its storage has been agreed.

The Navy will eventually have to manage waste from 27 submarines which have been in service since HMS Dreadnought, the UK’s first nuclear powered submarine entered service in 1963.  Seven redundant submarines are currently in store afloat at Rosyth dockyard, with 11 more at Devonport dockyard and the remainder still in service.  Commissioning of new Astute and ‘Successor’ class submarines would add to this total although they are not included in this project.

Consultation on options for dismantling the submarines took place over the winter of 2012-3, with more than 1,200 people attending consultation events and over 400 written responses received in response to MoD proposals on how and where radioactive waste should be removed from redundant submarines, the type of site which might be suitable for storage of the waste, and environmental impacts resulting from the process.  According to Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Equipment, Support, and Technology, comments received in response to the consultation “provided valuable input to the MoD’s options analysis, which has changed and matured significantly as a result”. 

Jane Tallents of the Nuclear Submarine Forum said:   “The Ministry of Defence’s submarine dismantling project is slowly moving in the right direction, but there is still much to do before we are in a position to deal safely with the radioactive legacy of the Navy’s nuclear submarines.

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

We are having to deal with this problem as a result of unwise decisions made in the past, yet the government seems intent on repeating these mistakes by pressing ahead to build new nuclear powered submarines without having a clear idea how or where radioactive wastes from these submarines will be managed in he long term.

The next steps in the submarine dismantling programme, especially selection of sites for storage of the radioactive waste generated by dismantling, must be taken with the full understanding and consent of communities which will be affected.  MoD must be open and transparent about its plans and must consult fully at every stage.

The Nuclear Submarine Forum will continue to represent voices of communities affected by the submarine dismantling programme and will insist that the Ministry of Defence takes an ethical approach to dealing with this unwelcome legacy.

For more information please contact Jane Tallents of the Nuclear Submarine Forum on tp2000 [at] gn.apc.org

Notes for editors:

  1. The Nuclear Submarine Forum is a network of 16 local groups from all parts of the United Kingdom, which are stakeholders in the Ministry of Defence’s nuclear powered submarine programme.  Representatives of the Forum sit on the Advisory Group for the Ministry of Defence’s Submarine Dismantling Project.  For more information please see https://www.nuclearsubwaste.net/
  2. More information about the Submarine Dismantling Project, the consultation process, and the options chosen by Ministers can be found on the Ministry of Defence website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-submarine-dismantling-project

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The MOD has published the provisional shortlist of sites for the interim storage of Intermediate Level radioactive Waste that will be removed from the 27 nuclear powered submarines that have left service with the Royal Navy or are due to, including those in afloat storage at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards.
They are:

  • Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston in Berkshire owned by MOD, run by AWE plc
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield in Berkshire owned by MOD, run by AWE plc
  • Sellafield in west Cumbria, owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire, owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  • Capenhurst in Cheshire, which is run by Capenhurst Nuclear Services

The MOD will now enter a period of pre-engagement with local authorities,  elected representatives and established site stakeholder groups.  This will provide an early opportunity to understand and comment on the criteria that should be considered during the main assessment of shortlisted sites.  It will also help to shape the formal public consultation that will be carried out before any decisions are made. Following this period of pre-engagement, a final shortlist of sites will be published in summer 2014.

These will then be taken forward as the basis for public consultation, which will be carried out locally, around each candidate site, and nationally.  The MOD’s plan is for the public consultation to begin towards the end of this year and end early next year.

The webpage also contains a copy of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Scoping Report, which sets out the scope and level of detail of the information to be  included in the SDP’s SEA update.

Any stakeholder groups who want to be involved in the pre engagement process (25th March and 9th April) can contact:Instinctif Partners,4th Floor, Dukesbridge Chambers,1 Duke Street,ReadingRG1 4SATel: 0118 983 9455Email: Harry.Hudson(at)instinctif.com

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The MOD has confirmed the shortlist of sites for storage of ILW from RN nuclear submarines. The five sites are: the Atomic Weapons Establishment sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, both owned by the MOD and run by AWE Plc; Sellafield in Cumbria and Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire, both owned by the NDA and Capenhurst in Cheshire, run by Capenhurst Nuclear Services.

The MOD completed a period of pre-engagement with local authorities, elected representatives and established site stakeholder groups around each of the shortlisted sites. This provided these groups with an early opportunity to understand and comment on the criteria that should be considered during the main assessment of shortlisted sites. It is also helping to shape plans for the formal public consultation that will be carried out before any decisions are made.

The assessment process considers:

1. Whole life costs for each site.

2. Operational effectiveness of the site.

3. A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

4. The project schedule proposed by the site owner.

5. Other contributory factors such as anticipated public opinion, policy and planning in each area.

The MOD’s analysis has not presented any grounds for discounting any of the sites at this stage. This final shortlist will be taken forward as the basis for detailed assessment including public consultation, which will be carried out locally around each candidate site, as well as nationally.

The public consultation, which will seek views on the shortlisted sites and consult on the SEA Environment Report, will begin on 14th November 2014 and end on 20th February 2015. This will take the form of public meetings and engagement alongside a wealth of information being put into the public domain to aid stakeholder’s understanding of the project. 

Venues for SDP Public Consultation exhibitions

Aldermaston: 17 November:  AWE Recreational Society, West Gate, Plantation Road, Aldermaston RG7 4PR.22 November; 23 January:  Tadley Community Centre, Newchurch Road, Tadley RG26 4HN.Internal workforce briefing: 31 October 2014

Burghfield:  18th November:  Village Hall, Recreation Road, Burghfield Common, Reading RG7 3EN20th November; 22nd January:  Community Sports Association, James Lane, Burghfield, Reading RG30 3RS.Internal workforce briefing: 30 October 2014

Chapelcross:  28 & 29 November 2014; 16 January 2015 (note change):Victoria Halls Complex, Downie’s Wynd, Annan DG12 6EE.

Capenhurst: 9 and 10 December; 20 January:  Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel, Parkgate Road, Ledsham, Chester CH66 9PB. 11 December: The Village Hall, Capenhurst Lane, Capenhurst, Chester CH1 6HE.Internal workforce briefings: 2 & 3 December 2014

Sellafield: 17 December; 28 January:  Cleator Moor Civic Hall and Masonic Centre, The Square, Cleator Moor CA25 5AU. 18 December; 27 January: The Beacon Museum, West Strand, Whitehaven CA28 7LY.

National Events Birmingham:  6 January 2015: The ICC Birmingham, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA.Glasgow:  8 January 2015: Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Exhibition Way, Glasgow G3 8YW.

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The Ministry of Defence Submarine Dismantling Project – what it means for you

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is currently seeking public opinions on selection of a site for the storage of radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear powered submarines. Five sites have been shortlisted as ‘interim storage sites’ for the waste. This briefing gives further information about the proposals and tells you how you can have your say.

The Ministry of Defence submarine dismantling project will oversee the disposal of 27 Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines that will have left service by the mid 2030s. This includes 19 submarines that have already left service and are stored afloat at Rosyth and Devonport naval dockyards awaiting disposal. The highly radioactive spent reactor fuel will be removed from the submarines and stored separately at Sellafield. Other radioactively contaminated components from the submarine reactors, principally the reactor pressure vessels which surround the nuclear core and its cooling system, will be removed from the submarines at Rosyth and Devonport dockyards. The submarines will then be broken up at the dockyards and the uncontaminated parts recovered and recycled as scrap metal.

Radioactively contaminated components of the decommissioned submarines will need to be placed into interim storage while the government designs and builds a national waste repository to handle the nation’s radioactive waste. This is expected to be for a period of around 40 – 60 years. The waste requiring interim storage – principally the intact reactor pressure vessel – will be categorised as intermediate level radioactive waste.

The five shortlisted sites selected as possible interim storage sites for radioactive waste from submarines are:

• The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority site at Sellafield, Cumbria

• The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority site at Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire

• The Ministry of Defence site at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston

• The Ministry of Defence site at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Burghfield

• The Capenhurst Nuclear Services site at Capenhurst, Cheshire

A first submarine will be dismantled as a pilot ‘demonstration’ at Rosyth and on current schedules this is expected to be completed by around 2019. Assuming the demonstration goes to plan, submarines will be dismantled at a rate of roughly one per year. MoD has promised that no radioactive waste will be removed from submarines until an interim storage site has been agreed and all the necessary planning approvals and permits have been issued.

Once an interim storage site has been selected, the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency will be the main government regulatory agencies responsible for approving the dismantling and waste storage arrangements. Normal local authority planning procedures would apply for construction of the storage facility. MoD will have to submit a planning application to the local planning authority, which would consult locally and provide an opportunity for people to object or recommend conditions before making a decision on whether to accept the application.

Once all the necessary permissions have been received, each reactor pressure vessel will be removed intact from a submarine and placed in a specially made protective storage container about the size of a portacabin. The container will then be transported by road to the interim storage site, where it will be stored and monitored in a newly built secure storage facility.

MoD is now consulting widely to gather views on the shortlisted sites and the process and criteria which will be used to compare the sites and make a final choice of storage site for the waste. Local residents in the vicinity of the shortlisted sites are entitled – and encouraged – to give their views on the proposals.

What is intermediate level radioactive waste?

Intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) from submarine reactors is material which has been in close proximity to the highly enriched uranium fuel which powers the reactor. As well as generating energy, the fuel also generates radioactive ‘fission products’ which are absorbed by the surrounding materials. Once the spent fuel has been removed from the reactor, these materials will require disposal as ILW. Unlike spent reactor fuel, ILW does not generate heat but it contains many of the radioactive elements found in higher activity wastes and its radioactive content is such that shielding is necessary to protect people from the radiation it produces. The radionuclides in ILW from nuclear reactors are long-lived, and therefore the waste must be kept isolated over a long period to protect humans and the environment from its impacts. The government plans to build a geological repository deep underground to hold the UK’s high and intermediate level radioactive wastes, but as yet plans for the repository are at an early stage and it will not open until 2040 at the earliest. Until then, waste from nuclear reactors, including submarine reactors, must be held in interim storage at secure sites.

How to have your say

Detailed documents outlining the MoD proposals, together with details of consultation arrangements and events are on the Ministry of Defence website. The Ministry of Defence is organising a series of exhibitions and workshops locally to consult people about its proposals, provide information, and take feedback on the following dates:

Aldermaston Monday 17 November 2014: AWE Recreational Society, West Gate, AWE Aldermaston Saturday 22 November 2014 and 23 January 2015: Tadley Community Centre, Newchurch Road, Tadley

Burghfield Tuesday 18 November: Burghfield Common Village Hall Thursday 20 November 2014 and Thursday 22 January 2015: Community Sports Association, James Lane, Burghfield

Capenhurst Tuesday 9 December 2014, Wednesday 10 December 2014, and Tuesday 20 January 2015: Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel Thursday 11 December 2014: Capenhurst Village Hall

Chapelcross Friday 28 November 2014, Saturday 29 November 2014, and Thursday 16 January 2014: Victoria Halls Complex, Annan

Sellafield Wednesday 17 December 2014 and Wednesday 28 January 2015: Civic Hall and Masonic Centre, Cleator Moor Thursday 18 December 2014 and Tuesday 27 January 2015: The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven

National events:

Tuesday 6 January 2015: International Convention Centre, Birmingham

Thursday 8 January 2015: Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow

Pre-booking is required for attendance at workshops. To arrange this, and for more information about consultation events, please call 0118 983 9474 or email sdp@instinctif.com

Public consultation will begin on 14 November 2014 and end on 20 February 2015. You can send your views to: DESSMIS-SDP@mod.uk or Submarine Dismantling Project, Mail Point 4119, MOD Abbey Wood, Bristol, BS34 8JH.

Some questions to ask

• Would storage of radioactive waste from submarines result in an increase in the area of the nuclear licensed site at candidate sites?

• What level of disruption and inconvenience would take place when radioactive waste from submarines is transported to the storage site, and how often would this take place?

• What will happen to waste from submarines that the Royal Navy plans to build in future which are not included under the terms of the submarine dismantling programme? Will it also be stored at the same interim storage site?

• Under current plans, when is it expected that radioactive waste from nuclear powered submarines will be moved from the interim storage site to a permanent resting place in a national radioactive waste repository? How great is the risk that the interim storage site will by default become a permanent storage site if the national repository is not built?

• What will be the total volume of the waste required to be stored, what will be the total radioactive content of the waste, and how long will it remain active?

• What risks has MoD identified identified as resulting from the interim storage proposals, and what steps will be taken to mitigate these risks?

What we think

The Nuclear Submarine Forum supports the MoD submarine dismantling project and considers it right that MoD are acting now to deal with the legacy of radioactive waste from nuclear-powered submarines. The issue cannot be ignored and will not go away, and it is our responsibility to deal with the problem, however unwelcome it is.

We are pleased that MoD is seeking the views of the public before making a decision on an interim storage site for radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear powered submarines.

Ultimately the decision on an interim storage site for radioactive waste from submarines should be made on technical grounds, at the site where safety and security are shown to be greatest and environmental impacts lowest.

There should be no overall increase in risk to the public at the interim storage site as a result of radioactive waste from submarines. As far as possible, measures should be taken to reduce the risks from other operations commensurately, and / or accelerate decommissioning work on the site.

A decision to store radioactive waste from submarines for an interim period a particular site does not mean that the site can automatically be used a storage site for other radioactive wastes from other sources, and MoD and the site operator must give specific guarantees on this point.

Although government policy for the long term management of higher level radioactive wastes is to place them underground in a geological repository, this policy is not based around proven technology and we are not yet convinced that it is the best option. Questions remain about the feasibility of an underground repository and there is a risk that interim storage arrangements for radioactive waste will be extended indefinitely.

There must be effective arrangements for monitoring the impacts of radioactive wastes stored at the selected site, including opportunities for oversight and scrutiny by local communities. Current arrangements at some of the shortlisted sites are not adequate and openness and transparency must be dramatically improved before any decision is made to store wastes from submarines at them.

Radioactive wastes from submarines are an unwelcome legacy resulting from unwise decisions made in the past. We have not yet identified a method for managing these wastes and under such circumstances it is irresponsible to continue producing them. MoD should not construct any more nuclear-powered submarines until this issue has been resolved.

Who we are

The Nuclear Submarine Forum (NSubF) is a network of 16 independent local groups from all parts of the United Kingdom with an interest in the Ministry of Defence’s nuclear powered submarine programme. Representatives of the Forum sit on the Advisory Group for the MoD’s Submarine Dismantling Project. NSubF wants to inform people about the Submarine Dismantling Project consultation to encourage members of the public to comment on the MoD proposals and also make clear that the human and environmental costs of the Navy’s nuclear powered submarine programme, which result in the need to dismantle submarines and generate radioactive waste, are unacceptable.

Nuclear Submarine Forum