The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has shortlisted five nuclear facilities to store radioactive waste from the Royal Navy’s decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.
All the considered sites dealing with radioactive materials are either owned by MoD, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) or nuclear industry firms.
Possible sites include Capenhurst, Cheshire, Sellafield, West Cumbria, Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, and Chapelcross, Dumfriesshire.
However, the selected sites will be used for temporary storage of reactor components until the commissioning of the UK Geological Disposal Facility after 2040.
UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said: "When the 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.
"This open and transparent public consultation process provides the opportunity to work closely with local communities near to potential sites to listen carefully to their views with the aim of delivering a solution that achieves these objectives."
The MoD will conduct public meetings from next month until February 2015 in each area.
Dunne added: "We value the views of those who have something to say about the submarine dismantling project. All of them will be considered properly as part of our decision-making process.
"After consultation we will publish a report on our findings and after we have selected a site, we will explain why we reached that decision."
The submarine dismantling project will involve the disposal of 27 Royal Navy nuclear vessels that are set to be decommissioned by the mid 2030s, in addition to 19 already retired units.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s HMS Trafalgar submarine. Photo: courtesy of Darren MacDonald, Crown.