For immediate release: 15 October 2003

Following Nuclear submarine HMS Torbay docking at Portsmouth yesterday CND spokesman Patrick Van den Bulck condemned the decision, pointing out that Portsmouth has no facilities for dealing with nuclear vessels. ‘Furthermore’, he said ‘this is yet another example of the navy flouting safety standards. As with the situation in Devonport dockyard, here we have an operational fully-fuelled nuclear submarine entering a dockyard surrounded by a heavily populated city. This presents major health risks to the local population.’

This submarine is from the same class as HMS Tireless, the British submarine that developed a leak in its reactor and had to limp into Gibraltar for repairs. It is more than possible that the cause of the failure in the reactor primary circuitry is a generic fault in this particular design of hunter killer submarines. This means further potential risks.

No emergency plan so far put forward by the MOD or local councils would protect the citizens of Portsmouth if there was an accident resulting in a radioactive release.

CND chair Kate Hudson said, ‘As in the civil nuclear industry, the authorities plan for accident scenarios they can deal with. The more severe ones they omit from their planning.’

Ms Hudson concluded, ‘The sensible way to deal with this increasingly frequent and hazardous risk to local communities is to scrap nuclear powered and nuclear armed submarines altogether. That would have the added bonus of getting rid of Britain’s own weapons of mass destruction.


Notes for Editors

1. For further information or interviews contact Ben Miller, Press Office – 020-7700-2350 or 07968-420-859 or CND Chair, Kate Hudson 07739-184-335

2. CND formed in 1958 has expert knowledge on all nuclear issues.

3. Called for by the Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Power in Space –