The Ministry of Defence wants to pump more radioactive waste into our natural environment at the Gare Loch. They have submitted an application to SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, to seeks approval to dispose of radioactive waste. At the core of these plans is the intention by the MoD to build a new Nuclear Support Hub at Faslane naval base in order to over double the number of nuclear submarines that are housed there.
The new Nuclear Support Hub is intended to contain an Effluent Treatment Plant, which is a facility to process and then discharge contaminated liquid directly into Gare Loch via pipeline. This includes liquid that is generated in the start-up and operation of submarine nuclear reactors, waste from radiochemical analysis, and liquid generated during the testing and decontamination of components and tools. It contains radioactive elements including cobalt-60 and tritium.
Faslane Naval Base currently discharges radioactive waste generated by the nuclear submarines and weapons. Information on the existing levels of discharge and anticipated levels from the proposed changes are contained in the MoD’s application and show a significant increase in discharges of radioactive isotopes such as cobalt-60.
In addition to liquid waste discharges, the MoD is also seeking approval for disposal of solid and gaseous radioactive. Solid waste includes components such as pipes, valves, and pumps and protective gear that has become contaminated. Gaseous waste is generated during the processing of solid and liquid waste and from other sources such as radiochemistry analysis. Further, radioactive waste will be transferred from Coulport, where maintenance on the nuclear weapons is undertaken, to the Nuclear Support Hub at Faslane.
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