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Orkney and Shetland
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103. Rosyth, Fife. (NT 096 822)

Until 1996, there were two major establishments at Rosyth, the naval base HMS Cochrane and the naval dockyard. HMS Cochrane was closed in 1996 and the engineering school HMS Caledonia is the only remaining part of the base. At the same time, the dockyard was privatised and sold to Babcock International Group plc.

The naval dockyard has been used to refit and refuel nuclear submarines but was closed in the mid 1990s. During the process of refitting, the old fuel core from the reactor is removed and a new fuel core lowered in its place. This is a very dangerous operation. The procedures used are not following the best practice - the core is lifted and moved using a large crane - which involves more risk than necessary.

Rosyth has been identified as a possible location for the storage of nuclear waste from decommissioned submarines as part of the ISOLUS project. The dockyard has been used as a storage location for scrapped submarines since 1983 when HMS Dreadnought, Britain's first nuclear powered submarine was towed into the yard.

On the 6th March 2000 there was an accident involving a nuclear submarine at Rosyth. HMS Sceptre was undergoing trials in the dock towards the end of a major refit when the vessel broke its moorings and shot forward off the cradle it was on. It moved forwards 30 feet inside the dock, which at the time was full of water. Some of the workers in Rosyth said that it was the most serious accident that had ever taken place in the yard.

Further information on Rosyth can be found at the Scottish CND website at www.banthebomb.org/scotland/rosacc.shtml

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