Nuclear Submarines Operated For Two Years With Defects

The dangers posed by the operation of British nuclear submarines in coastal waters around the British Isles has once again been illustrated by leaked information that two vessels (HMS Tireless and Turbulent) operated for two years
with safety defects.

The Ministry of Defence are reported to be urgently investigating reports that valves which are used to vent excess steam pressure were blocked off during maintenance and the vessels were subsequently operated in an unsafe manner.

Independent nuclear safety expert, John Large, said said the oversight was ‘an accident waiting to happen”. “This was a serious incident,” he said. “It illustrates the breakdown of the rigid procedures required to ensure submarines are fit for service.”

As the United Kingdom conteplates construction of a new generation of nuclear submarines it is clear that there are serious problems with operation and maintenance of its existing fleet.

The Celtic League has consistently called for a proscription on operations by nuclear submarines in the shallow waters around the British Isles, particularly since the serious incident in which the United States SSBN Nathaniel Greene was
damaged after it struck the sea-bed off Dublin Bay in the mid 1980s.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

11/05/10

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