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Radioactive waste has leaked from Britain’s nuclear submarines nine times in the past 12 years, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted. Two of the leaks – including one at Devonport near Plymouth two months ago – had not been revealed until today.
Confirmation of the leaks raises new questions about the MoD’s safety record, which has been coming under increasing scrutiny since HMS Vanguard, a British submarine armed with Trident nuclear missiles, collided with a nuclear-armed French submarine, Le Triomphant, under the Atlantic in February.
Last month, the Guardian reported a series of safety breaches at the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine base at Faslane near Glasgow. Documents released to Channel Four News under freedom of information legislation disclosed three leaks of radioactivity from nuclear submarines into the Firth of Clyde in 2004, 2007 and 2008.