Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Consultation to start on nuclear sub dismantling

A Trident submarine
Image caption Seven disused submarines are stored at Babcock's Rosyth dockyard in Fife

A public consultation on the dismantling of the UK's retired nuclear submarines is set to get under way.

Rosyth in Fife and Devonport in Plymouth are the two preferred sites being considered as locations for removing the radioactive material from the vessels.

The consultation, which gets under way on Friday, will look at how and where this process will be carried out.

It will also consider where the waste should be stored initially.

Babcock's Rosyth dockyard is currently home to seven nuclear submarines, while a further 10 are stored at Devonport.

The storage of submarines at Rosyth currently supports about 100 jobs, though safety concerns are being expressed locally about what will happen to the submarines' nuclear fuel.

Rear Admiral Simon Lister, of the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining the submarines was "rising significantly" and space to store them was running out.

"Developing a solution now, rather than leaving future generations to do so, is the responsible course of action," he said.

"There is no reason to believe there will be any increased health risk from submarine dismantling activities.

"Submarine dismantling, like all nuclear work, will be robustly regulated to stringent standards by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the environment agencies."

He added: "We are keen to hear the views of as many people as possible during this public consultation, to help us make the right decisions about how to dispose of our nuclear submarines."

The consultation is due to run for 16 weeks.

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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