The Guardian newspaper reports serious concerns about the safety of the newly commissioned Astute class nuclear submarines. Including
• Flooding during a routine dive that led to Astute performing an emergency surfacing.
• Corrosion even though the boat is essentially new.
• Concern over the instruments monitoring the nuclear reactor because the wrong type of lead was used.
As Earl Beatty said at the Battle of Jutland in the First World War "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
Links to the Guardian Reports
- Slow, leaky, rusty: Britain's £10bn submarine beset by design flaws, Royal Navy's HMS Astute 'has a V8 engine with a Morris Minor gearbox'
- Britain's nuclear hunter-killer submarines were doomed from the start, The flawed thinking and design behind the fleet at the heart of Britain's navy is now coming to the fore.
If these reports are in any way correct, its seems the MOD's internal Nuclear Safety Regulator has been asleep at the wheel, making an overwhelming case for external regulation by the Office of Nuclear Regulation. It would not be surprising if budget cuts and cost savings also played a significant part in this very sorry situation. The question is, to what extent these defects put the submarine, its crew and the public at risk.
It interesting to see that the problems reported by the Guardian do not seem to feature in the annual report of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator for 2011