Capenhurst chosen to store nuclear submarine radioactive waste


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AFP

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The Royal Navy has a fleet of nuclear submarines, but 19 have been decommissioned and must be carefully dismantled

Radioactive waste from decommissioned Royal Navy nuclear submarines will be stored in Cheshire, the Ministry of Defence has announced.

A site in Capenhurst, near Ellesmere Port, has been selected to store steel containers from 19 redundant vessels.

The components, described as having “intermediate” radioactivity, were used to house the submarines’ core reactors but no longer carry nuclear fuel.

They will be stored by Capenhurst Nuclear Services and later disposed of.

The firm said the project would create “potential future opportunities” for its workforce, but it was not clear how many jobs would be created.

The submarines are currently stored at Devonport in Plymouth and Rosyth in Fife, but cannot be dismantled until the reactor components have been removed.

Capenhurst was chosen from a shortlist of five potential locations, including Chapelcross near Annan, in southern Scotland.

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Getty Images

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Radioactive materials must be professionally and safely disposed of

Aldermaston in Berkshire was selected as a “fall back” option.

The radioactive parts will be stored until after 2040 when the UK’s Geological Disposal Facility, designed for the permanent disposal of spent fuel and nuclear waste, is planned to come into operation.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: “When 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.

“We have worked closely with the local communities around potential sites to listen carefully to their views, and the opinions and feedback we received has played an important part in formulating our final decision.

“With Capenhurst as our recommended site, we know that the radioactive waste will be dealt with properly and responsibly.”



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