Nuclear Submarines

Defence written question – answered on 12th February 2014.

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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 with reference to paragraph 37 of his Department's Safety and Environmental Protection Assurance Report 2012-13, what the life-limiting features that cannot be mitigated through life extension programmes are for existing nuclear-powered submarines.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The life-limiting features referred to in the Ministry of Defence's Safety and Environmental Protection Assurance Report 2012-13 are those components of the nuclear reactor plant whose replacement is not considered to be a financially or technically viable option. While existing life extension programmes provide some refurbishment and maintenance of these components, the length of time they can safely be operated will ultimately determine the limits on the life of the reactor plant.

This issue is common to both defence and civil reactor plant and equipment, and the Office for Nuclear Regulation has recognised the safe management of ageing plant as a key issue for industry to manage.

Information on reactor plant design is being withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

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