Posted on April 3, 2019
Nine of the vessels still contain nuclear fuel, according to the government spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO). Failing to get rid of them risked the UK’s reputation as a responsible nuclear power, the chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said. The MoD said it would dispose of them “as soon as practically possible”. According to the NAO, the department has not dismantled any of the submarines it has decommissioned since 1980.
In that time, the government has spent an estimated £500m storing the retired vessels in Rosyth, Fife, and Devonport, Devon. The estimated cost of fully disposing of a submarine is £96m, the NAO said.
Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said the MoD must “get a grip” of the “spiralling” costs to the taxpayer. “For more than 20 years the MoD has been promising to dismantle its out-of-service nuclear submarines and told my committee last year that it would now address this dismal lack of progress,” she said. “The disposal programmes have been beset by lengthy delays and spiralling costs, with taxpayers footing the bill.”