09 Apr 2013

MOD warned against turning Rosyth into ‘nuclear dump’

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie MSP has urged the Ministry of Defence to make a commitment not to turn Rosyth Dockyard into a “nuclear submarine dump”.

Mr Rennie’s statement comes after it emerged that the dockyard will participate in the dismantling of seven nuclear submarines and the removal of reactors in Rosyth, but politicians and anti-nuclear campaigners have hit out at the plans, fearing nuclear waste will be dumped in the area.

Mr Rennie said he is concerned that the waste will be stored at the yard for decades after the submarines are dismantled because the UK Government has not established a new nuclear waste storage site.

He said: “With the nuclear submarines dumped at Rosyth for almost 30 years the MOD has developed its plans at a painfully slow pace.

“It is troubling that there is still no plan to store the nuclear waste in the longer term. We need to see a firm commitment from the MOD that Rosyth Dockyard won’t be used as a dumping ground for the waste after the submarines are dismantled.  

“Although the people of Rosyth and the wider area have lived with the economic benefit from the nuclear subs, they shouldn’t be expected to tolerate the burden of a nuclear waste site on their doorstep.

“Rather than see the dockyard decline into a nuclear graveyard by stealth, local people want to maximise the economic potential of the yard. The MOD must pick up the pace and allow this to happen.”

MOD officials will test the removal of reactors in Rosyth, but politicians and anti-nuclear campaigners have previously hit out at the plans.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP has previously said the MOD’s approach to nuclear safety in Scotland “leaves a lot to be desired”.

However, an MOD spokesman said: “Satisfying the stringent and independently-regulated safety standards for submarine dismantling takes time, but the MOD is committed to delivering a safe and secure solution that does not leave a problem for future generations.

“No radioactive waste will be removed from any submarines without a storage or disposal site being agreed.”