Navy Submarines at Risk of Nuclear Leak Are Recalled

By D'arcy Doran | The Independent (London, England), October 21, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Navy Submarines at Risk of Nuclear Leak Are Recalled


D'arcy Doran, The Independent (London, England)


THE ROYAL Navy has recalled its fleet of "hunter killer" submarines after discovering a defect that may cause a leak in their nuclear reactors.

The Navy decided yesterday to take the entire class of 12 vessels out of action following the discovery of the defect. It could be months before they are back in use.

The decision came after a detailed inspection of the HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar class boat which arrived in Gibraltar in May with a leak in the pipes connected to the nuclear reactor. The submarine has remained in Gibraltar for repairs, which has caused a diplomatic row between Britain and Gibraltar's government.

Last night the Navy stressed that the problems with the submarines will not affect Britain's strategic position or its international commitments. Only two of the submarines were in foreign waters yesterday and both were on their way back to port.

A Navy spokesman, Lieutenant-Commander Jim Jenkin said: "The Vanguard submarines armed with Trident missiles are totally unaffected so there is no problem with strategic nuclear deterrence."

The "hunter killer" submarines are used to protect Trident submarines from enemy vessels as they leave their bases.

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