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Nuclear Submarines: Fires

Defence written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the risk that vacuum cleaners used on nuclear submarines may start a fire.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

All equipment fitted or carried onboard Royal Navy submarines, including vacuum cleaners, is assessed before it enters service to determine the fire risk it presents. When risks are identified, all practicable measures are taken to reduce their severity before a further assessment is made to ensure any remaining risk is tolerable; this assessment is kept under periodic review. Once in-service, equipment undergoes periodic maintenance, in accordance with defined procedures, to ensure that it continues to function safely and correctly.

During major overhaul periods, fire safety becomes the responsibility of the relevant contractor, who is required to provide appropriate fire safety arrangements. This includes conducting assessments of the risks presented by the activities to be undertaken and the equipment to be used.

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