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     Scottish CND      Magazine

HMS VANGUARD NEAR MISS

Submariners terrified as submarine plunges out of control

In July the Trident submarine HMS Vanguard came close to a major nuclear accident when a training exercise went wrong. The vessel was in the "Celtic Deep", to the South of the Irish Sea. According to a report in the Sunday Mail there was a power failure and the vessel went into an uncontrolled dive. The paper quoted a member of the crew as saying "The boat was shuddering and shaking. We were on our knees praying. Everyone was scared out of their wits because we had never experienced anything like this." A former Royal Navy submarine commander said "Apart from a fire on board, I cannot think of anything more horrific than this. If it had not pulled out of its dive, it would have headed down and probably imploded, killing the crew and spreading radioactivity over a massive area."

Apparently the nuclear reactor which powers the Trident submarine shut down. The crew tried to get a back up system going, to provide electricity, but it failed to work. By this time the submarine was descending rapidly in a deep dive. The vessel was eventually brought back under control when the reactor started up again.

John Large, a nuclear engineer, said "This is an extremely serious problem for this class of submarine. Itís horrific - the worst nightmare."

The Royal Navy admitted that HMS Vanguard had been forced to make "an unscheduled surface during a training exercise", but they denied that there was any cause for concern.

Scottish CND      Magazine