Nuclear submarine fire figures revealed
Published: 8th Jul 2012 13:57:32
There have been 266 fires on nuclear submarines in the past 25 years, the Ministry of Defence has revealed.
The incidents included 74 on ballistic missile submarines. Three happened while the vessels were in naval bases; one of these was on a ballistic missile submarine.
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson said the "apparent vulnerability" to fire raised "grave questions".
The MoD said no fire had ever had an impact on nuclear safety.
Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, gave the figures in response to a parliamentary question from Mr Robertson.
Of the 266 fires, 243 were classed as "small-scale" and categorised as a localised fire, such as a minor electrical fault creating smoke.
There were 20 medium-scale fires that were generally categorised as a localised fire, such as a failure of mechanical equipment creating smoke and flame, requiring the use of "significant onboard resources".
Mr Robertson said: "Any one of these fires could have had catastrophic consequences and the frequency of these incidents raises the most serious safety concerns.
"That so many of these incidents occurred on submarines that may have been nuclear armed is deeply troubling.
"Reports of a fire on a ballistic missiles submarine, while in port, must be addressed by the MoD - we need to know where this was.
"Beyond the obvious risk to the crew, citizens on shore, and the environment, a significant fire could severely limit the UK's ability to maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent.
"It makes a mockery of any UK claims to having a credible "independent" nuclear deterrent."
Information on whether ballistic missile submarines were armed with nuclear weapons when the fires occurred was not available, Mr Luff said.
Nuclear submarines are based at Faslane on the Clyde but the location of the incidents was not specified.
An MoD spokesman said: "No fire on board any Royal Navy submarine has ever had an impact on nuclear safety or the ability to operate a continuous at-sea deterrent.
"Due to the nature of submarine operations, meticulous records are kept of all incidents involving fire, however small.
"Most of those recorded were minor electrical faults that were dealt with quickly, safely and effectively.
"The Royal Navy operates a stringent safety regime on board all its submarines and all personnel receive regular and extensive fire safety training."
At 14:00:21 in WorldAfghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah remains the frontrunner with 80% of votes counted, officials say.
At 13:54:55 in BusinessPublic sector union Unison is to ballot local government workers and school staff in England for strikes after members rejected a 1% pay offer.
At 13:54:06 in ScotlandA man who throttled a 12-year-old girl until she collapsed unconscious has been ordered to carry out unpaid community work.
At 13:52:47 in SportNorthampton Saints have made four changes for their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Harlequins.
At 13:45:28 in EnglandThree men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man at a flat in Peterborough.
At 13:44:57 in HealthSeven-year-olds are happier when they are allowed some sweets, snacks and television time, rather than none at all, suggests a study of children's well-being.
At 13:44:36 in EnglandThe M25 in Hertfordshire is blocked in both directions after an articulated lorry caught fire on the anti-clockwise carriageway, police said.
At 13:44:16 in ScotlandPolice have announced a crackdown on fans attempting to carry fireworks into this weekend's Edinburgh derby.
At 13:43:39 in EnglandA "rigorous investigation" is under way at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) after three so-called "never events" in under a month.
At 13:43:23 in EnglandA waste firm has been fined £13,500 for causing bad odours around its processing site.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Nuclear submarine fire figures revealed [Online] (Updated 8th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1439315/Nuclear-submarine-fire-figures-revealed [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Plans to hold a three-day music festival in Ceredigion have been scrapped after organisers withdrew their application.
A man who throttled a 12-year-old girl until she collapsed unconscious has been ordered to carry out unpaid community work.
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man at a flat in Peterborough.
Seven-year-olds are happier when they are allowed some sweets, snacks and television time, rather than none at all, suggests a study of children's well-being.
Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has pleaded not guilty to drinking and driving.
Supporters of Scottish independence have questioned why the BBC has not resigned from the CBI over the business group's referendum stance.