The MoD Has Blown £500m on Storing Old Nuclear Subs

By Gary Cutlack on at

Fans of the history of the UK's submarine fleet will be pleased to know we have numerous classic old nuclear-powered subs in various storage sites around the country, although government financial watchdogs aren't best pleased about it, as the lifetime cost to the Ministry of Defence for storing these ancient subs has now breached the £500m mark.

They're not being stored for the greater good or to teach future generations about war etc. — they're being stored because decommissioning 1960s and 1970s nuclear technology is extremely hard. Hence, 20 of our retired nuclear-powered subs have been sitting around, some since 1980, waiting to be dismantled and have their insides made safe.

This collection also includes all four of the Resolution class submarines that were designed and built in the 1960s to carry the Polaris nuclear missiles, and continued notionally defending us until the 1990s. The National Audit Office says nine of the 20 decaying subs in long-term storage still contain some nuclear material, and suggests there's a total decommissioning cost of £96m to be found to make them all safe and recycle the clean bits into drones. [NAO via BBC]

Image credit: U.S. Navy - U.S. Navy All Hands magazine October 1979, p. 35. / Wikipedia