20 Oct 2014

MOD seek consultation on nuclear decommissioning

Summary: Five UK nuclear facilities have been confirmed as potential sites to store waste from decommissioned MOD nuclear-powered submarines.

A public consultation process will be run to help determine which site is selected.

The submarine dismantling project will oversee the disposal of 27 Royal Navy nuclear submarines which are due to have left naval service by the mid 2030s and will have their nuclear fuel removed.

The site chosen will be used for interim storage of reactor components until after 2040, when the UK Geological Disposal Facility is planned to come into operation.

A base in Plymouth has already been discounted as a potential storage site for the nuclear waste based on the scenery, local population of 270,000 and its position as a tourist destination.

The sites now being proposed, which already hold radioactive materials, are as follows:

  • the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston
  • Burghfield in Berkshire
  • Sellafield in west Cumbria
  • Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire
  • Capenhurst in Cheshire

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne, said: “When the submarines in the Royal Navy fleet reach the end of their lives we need to dispose of them in a way that is safe, secure and environmentally sound.

“This open and transparent public consultation process provides the opportunity to work closely with local communities near to potential sites to listen carefully to their views with the aim of delivering a solution that achieves these objectives.

“We value the views of those who have something to say about the submarine dismantling project. All of them will be considered properly as part of our decision-making process.

“After consultation we will publish a report on our findings and after we have selected a site, we will explain why we reached that decision.”

The consultation will begin in mid-November and run until February 2015.