Devonport still on shortlist for storing nuclear waste from decommissioned subs

You have to put this stuff somewhere… but if the submarines are going to be decommissioned at Rosyth wouldn’t it make more sense to store the waste up in Scotland instead of trucking it all the way down to Devonport?

(Radioactivity would explain Dunfermline’s away kit.)

Plymouth still on shortlist to be nuclear submarine waste dump

DEVONPORT Dockyard has not been ruled out as a storage site for nuclear waste under the controversial submarine dismantling project.

Local residents were yesterday told at a Devonport Local Liaison Committee meeting that the dockyard could yet be used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as an interim storage facility for the Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW).

ILW can include resins, chemical sludge and metal reactor nuclear fuel cladding, as well as contaminated materials from reactor decommissioning, that must be disposed of in special repositories.

Only acidic liquids from reprocessing of spent fuels and their solidified forms are classed as more serious than ILW.

In March, when the MoD announced its response to the consultations carried out in 2011, it was reported that fears Plymouth would be turned into a nuclear graveyard had been “eased”.

Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, said at the time the news made it less likely that the city would be seen as the country’s nuclear graveyard.

At yesterday’s meeting at Devonport’s Welcome Hall, MoD representatives spoke of the plans for a second consultation on the location for the storage site, as announced in the spring.

One campaigner told MoD representatives they couldn’t “expect” Plymouth to be used as an interim storage site.

Ian Avent, of Community Awareness Nuclear Storage And Radiation (CANSAR), said: “We are talking about a second consultation for intermediate level waste storage – it would be the easiest thing in the world to drop it and dump it here.

“All of a sudden Devonport is back in as a potential ILW storage site.”

In response, Simon Tinling, part of the dismantling project team said the MoD would still take into account local policies and preferences.

“We have to consider a number of sites including both of the dismantling sites as well as a wide range of other nuclear sites,” he added.

“Devonport and Rosyth are not difficult storage locations, we will not start the recycling process until a site has been chosen.”

He also said neither site would be chosen as “default” locations.

But Mr Avent added: “We do the refuelling, refitting and now the dismantling you can’t expect us to do this too.”

The rationale for a revised approach to the ILW storage site selection came down to a number of reasons – including responses from the local authority and legal advice, locals were told.

Residents attending the meeting were told that a total of 20 submarines would be dismantled in Devonport – 11 of those are currently stored afloat and nine remain in service.

The demonstration of the dismantling is still planned to begin in Rosyth, in Scotland, but will “progress dismantling activities in Devonport as soon as practicable”.

They were also told of opportunities to begin removing low-level waste early as a cost and time saving initiative.

If the LLW early removal plan goes ahead, the final clearance of submarines from Rosyth would be brought forward by two years.

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