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February 11, 2022

UK MOD names first nuclear submarine to be dismantled

HMS Valiant is waiting for dismantling along with 12 other submarines at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has revealed that HMS Valiant will be the first nuclear-powered submarine in Devonport to undergo dismantling.

The confirmation follows a campaign by Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport Member of Parliament (MP) Luke Pollard.

The MOD’s Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) is responsible for dismantling 27 nuclear submarines, of which seven are currently operational while the remaining 20 are decommissioned and left the Royal Navy service.

In 2013, the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) was approved. The ministry has not yet disposed of any of the 20 submarines it has decommissioned.

At present, Devonport dockyard in Plymouth has 13 out-of-service nuclear submarines stored safely and securely while the Rosyth dockyard in Fife has seven vessels.

According to a 2019 investigation by the National Audit Office into submarine defueling and dismantling, the MOD has spent an estimated £0.5bn since 1980 on storing and maintaining its retired vessels.

In a statement, MP Luke Pollard noted that storing up of the vessels cost “£30m a year to the taxpayer”.

The UK Government has not provided any clarity on the dates when dismantling will begin.

Last month, Defence minister Jeremy Quin told Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Labour MP Luke Pollard in the House of Commons: “A demonstrator submarine is being used to define and refine the dismantling process now taking place at Rosyth Dockyard.

“As that programme of work progresses, the outcomes will provide more certainty on the dates when dismantling of the Devonport-based submarines will start.”

HMS Valiant was launched on 3 December 1963. It was commissioned into service on 18 July 1966 and decommissioned from active service in 1994.

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