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Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

9 radiation leaks in 12 years

Image  In reply to a question from Conservative Defence Spokesperson Julian Lewis MP, the Defence Minister Quentin Davies has admitted that there have been 9 leaks of radioactive coolant from British nuclear submarines since 1997.  The latest incident was on 25 March 2009 at Devonport.

 

 

Trident Replacement costs in 2009 rise by £100 m

ImageThe Government have increased the amount they are spending this year on a new system to replace Trident by £100 million.  The additional amount will be spend on designing the launch tubes for the nuclear missiles.  The "Common Missile Compartment" is for both British and American submarines.  But initially the UK is paying 100% of the work which is being carried out in the US by the Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, Conneticut.

Scotland to get all nuclear submarines

ImageThe Government have announced that three Trafalgar class submarines will be moved from Devonport to Faslane between 2014 and 2017.  This will bring forward the date when all nuclear submarines will be based in Scotland.  This follows an earlier decision to base the new Astute class at Faslane.  Both Trafalgar and Astute submarines are nuclear-powered but not nuclear armed.

Cameron unsure about Trident Replacement

ImageDavid Cameron refused to give a guarantee that a future Tory Government would proceed with the plan to replace Trident.  Questioned at a press conference on 30 April he said:

'Whether it is better strategic lift capacity which the armed services need, being better able to project power through having a proper Navy and carriers, having the best replacement there is for an independent nuclear deterrent - there are reasons for all of these things.

'But clearly, when you are reviewing spending, you have to review all spending.'

 

Nuclear Leaks at Faslane

ImageThe Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) was so concerned about poor handling of nuclear waste at Faslane that if it had been a civil site they would have threatened to close it down. 

Trident and budget

ImageSeveral commentators have argued that the Government should scrap Trident replacement in response to the budget crisis :

“Major projects such as Trident will have to be scrapped”  
Tony Dolphin, Spectator, 20/4/09

“Scrap Trident (our overpriced and unnecessary nuclear “deterrent”), saving a minimum of £20 billion”
Edward Heathcoat Amory, Daily Mail, 23/4/09

Submarine collisions and fires

The Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth has admitted that British nuclear powered submarines were involved in 16 collisions and 234 fires since 1987.  He was replying to a question from SNP MP Angus Robertson, who commented: "This diary of near disasters is extremely distrubing.  One collision is too many especially when it involves a submarine carrying Weapons of Mass Destruction".

Sub accident caused by systematic failures

ImageThe Sunderland coroner, Derek Winter, concluded that an accident on HMS Tireless in March 2007 which killed two submariners was the result of "systematic failures" on the part of the MoD.  He was speaking at the end of a 7 week inquest.  The sailors were killed when a SCOG oxygen generator exploded.  The SCOGs had been left in a waste dump at Devonport and then reintroduced into service.  The accident was so serious that it took over 40 minutes before rescuers could enter the compartment where the explosion took place.  Much of the vessel were filled with smoke and they had to look for thin ice before they could surface.

Is Brown an optimist or pessimist ?

ImageIn a speech on 17 March Gordon Brown said he was an "optimist" about the possibility for nuclear disarmament.  He had hope that Britain would be able to find the moral courage to take the lead.  He shared with  President Obama the goal of the abolition of all nuclear weapons and talked of the need to "aim high" and "to transform discussion of nuclear disarmament from one of platitudes to one of hard commitment".  But there is no sign that he is ready to translate this rhetoric into action.

Commenting on Brown's statement Scottish CND Chair Alan Mackinnon said:

"Gordon Brown says he is an optimist when it comes to nuclear disarmament, well if he is then perhaps he should be a bit more bold.  Rather than saying that his new submarines will only carry 12 Trident missiles, which is probably the same as at sea today, he should be scrapping the exhorbitant plan to build these new Weapons of Mass Destruction.  If he wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with President Obama then the Prime Minister should rule out the development of any new British nuclear weapon." 

US patrols near Cold War tempo

The US Navy is continuing to keep nuclear-armed submarines on patrol at a tempo similar to that maintained during the Cold War.  This has been revealed in a new report from Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists.

Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 2008 the US Trident fleet conducted 31 nuclear deterrent patrols.  The 1,000 patrol by a Trident submarine was completed on 11 February 2009.

Federation of American Scientist Blog