Staff, Dunfermline Press
30 October 2017
Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has called on the MoD to speed up a programme to dismantle seven nuclear submarines in Rosyth.
While welcoming a report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which showed radioactivity doses in Scotland were well within international limits, Mr Chapman said work to rid Rosyth of the vessels was “excruciatingly slow”.
“It’s encouraging that SEPA’s latest report shows radioactivity doses are well within limits,” said Mr Chapman.
“However, Rosyth should not be a sanctuary for toxic submarines and this is something I have raised in Parliament as constituents are fed-up with the subs rotting in their own back yard.
“Yes, they are to be dismantled and removed, but the timescale is excruciatingly slow.
“I’m encouraging SEPA to progress its work with the MoD to manage the area effectively and help rid Rosyth of the subs so that the space in the dockyard basin can be used for more economically-productive uses.”
A total of seven submarines are due to be dismantled at Rosyth and work began on the first, Swiftsure, in December last year.
Once this is completed, best practices developed will be used to refine the disposal process as the programme is progressed.
An MoD spokesperson said work was well under way after initial dismantling began last year as planned. He said all the decommissioned submarines were subject to regular maintenance and checks by the MoD and regulators and pose no additional risks to workers or members of the public.
“Our priority is to ensure that submarine dismantling is undertaken in a safe, secure, cost-effective and environmentally-sound manner,” added the spokesperson.
The current estimation is that one submarine is likely to be dismantled every 18 months.
Dr Paul Dale, radioactive substances unit manager at SEPA, said their report demonstrated that Scotland’s public was protected adequately against sources of radioactivity which could impact on our food and the wider natural environment.
He added: “The report represents a collaborative effort by all agencies to carry out rigorous annual monitoring, to ensure dose levels are well within international limits and the 2016 report confirms that this remains the case.”