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     Scottish CND     magazine

Rust in Peace

Nuclear weapons remain the greatest threat to the global environment. Our first concern is that they should be scrapped. We cannot lose sight of this today, with more and more convoys increasing the number of atom bombs in Scotland. Yet there is a second issue which has appeared in the press lately - what to do with the old submarines after they have gone. The replacement of Polaris by Trident has created two new problems for Scotland. Not only do we have Trident on the Clyde, but we also have the hulks of Polaris on the Forth.

Michael Portillo recently made a gaffe. He claimed that the old submarines would be cut up into small pieces and put into a nuclear waste store in Cumbria - only to be told by NIREX that the new store would probably not be ready on time, if it ever goes ahead at all. Scotland on Sunday obtained documents which show that the Ministry of Defence still doesn't know what to do with Polaris and the other radioactive hulks. They are exploring a number of alternatives, meanwhile the reactor compartments are "stored afloat". "Storage afloat" means tying up the submarines alongside at Rosyth while they think about what on earth they are going to do with them. The oldest British nuclear powered submarine, HMS Dreadnought, has already been sitting there for 14 years, during which time she has been joined by 6 others.

The fact that they haven't a clue what to do with nuclear waste isn't stopping the Ministry from building more submarines, far from it. The fourth Trident submarine is under construction at Barrow and orders are being placed for five more conventionally armed but nuclear powered submarines. Where will these all end up - need we ask ? (John Ainslie)

Scottish CND      magazine