Nuclear submarine infrastructure is ‘not fit for purpose’

| 25th September 2018
Devonport dockyard

Devonport dockyard

Georgraph
The infrastructure supporting the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet is no longer ‘fit for purpose’ warns the Public Accounts Committee. MARIANNE BROOKER reports

It’s clear that the MoD is overreaching itself financially: it clearly cannot afford to buy a new nuclear weapons system and maintain its other spending requirements.

Delays to maintenance at 13 Ministry of Defence run nuclear sites has created a ‘ticking time bomb’, a powerful House of Commons committee has warned.

The Public Accounts Committee highlighted a potential £20 billion shortfall in the MoD’s overall equipment programmes and has questioned the ability of the MoD to meet its national security commitments.

The Committee has already warned about a £2.9billion ‘affordability gap’ for the ‘Nuclear Enterprise’ which includes the Trident replacement submarines – Dreadnought.

Spending requirements

Now it has highlighted that when the subs are built there will be nowhere to berth them. Devonport and Rosyth dockyards are already full of old subs, some of which still contain nuclear fuel.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of CND, said: "We welcome this very frank PAC report which puts MoD incompetence and negligence in the spotlight.

"It’s clear that the MoD is overreaching itself financially: it clearly cannot afford to buy a new nuclear weapons system and maintain its other spending requirements. Spending on Trident replacement when it can’t afford general equipment is grossly irresponsible.

Common sense

"Even worse are the health and safety risks presented by years of MoD inactivity. There is a backlog of subs waiting to be dismantled, some of which contain nuclear fuel waste that will be radioactive for thousands of years.

"No permanent safe storage facility has yet been found, but our government chooses to produce more of this toxic waste through a nuclear weapons system that it cannot afford.

"This PAC report must ring alarm bells at the highest levels. The common sense solution is to cancel Trident replacement."

This Author

Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor to The Ecologist.

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