Australian news, and some related international items

The daunting, long and untested effort to deal with UK’s dead nuclear submarines.

CUTTING up an old nuclear sub to turn it into “razor blades and tin cans”
will be a world first for Rosyth. Seven vessels have been laid up at the
dockyard for decades – the last one came out of service in 1996 – and
there’s finally some progress in getting rid of them.

Three subs, Swiftsure, Resolution and Revenge, have had 90 per cent of their low-level
radioactive waste removed and the next step is something no-one has tried
before. Christine Bruce, assistant head of nuclear liabilities at the
Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA), explained: “Stage two is the most
challenging and in some ways the most exciting part, when we take out
what’s left of the centre of the reactor. “It’s the reactor pressure
vessel, it’s like a giant kettle, but it’s the most radioactive part that’s
left so taking it out is key to the rest of the submarine being able to be
disposed of like a conventional ship.” Some countries with old subs have
left the reactor intact but a different approach is being taken at Rosyth.
She added: “The method we’re adopting is dismantling and no-one else has
done that.

“When we manage to cut it up by 2026 that will be a global
first. No-one else will have cut up a nuclear submarine.” Ms Bruce told
Forces News that safety was “paramount” and they expect to start work in
late 2025. She said: “Once that’s out, the rest of the vessel will be
non-radioactive, it’s scrap metal and can be put into the final stage of
disposal, which is recycling. “There’s lots of very valuable steel and
other alloys in there, there’s even some gold connectors!” It costs £30
million a year to maintain and store the subs and dismantling all 27 is
expected to cost more than £3 billion.

The Ministry of Defence has faced
heavy criticism for the delays in getting rid of the subs – Dreadnought
was retired in the 1980s and has been at Rosyth longer than she was in

 Dunfermline Press 18th Feb 2022


March 20, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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