07:00 GMT18 June 2021
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    An investigation has revealed that a nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine had a near-miss with a large passenger ferry in the Irish Sea on November 6th last year. Sputnik spoke about it to Arthur West, chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

    Sputnik: What could be the possible consequences of a major accident involving a UK nuclear submarine?

    Arthur West: Loss of life, and the other factor would be a dreadful spread of radiation from any accident that was happening. And that wouldn't just affect the immediate area where the incident or reaction happened: it spread very far, think of the radiations of incidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Radiation doesn't know any boundaries. It could spread quite far and affect other areas, indeed other countries.

    So apart from a humanitarian aspect of loss of life and injury, environmental damage would be considerable as well. I think what would happen if there was an accident, you'd have a release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere, and that could spread, you know, who knows. Chernobyl happened in Eastern Europe, but there were traces of radiation they found in Scottish farms, time afterwards. Nobody really knows the extent of the damage that could cause, but apart from that, had this not been a near-miss, had this actually been a collision, the loss of life… it's very worrying to just contemplate what it could have been, you know?

    READ MORE: UK Nuclear Submarine Almost Crashes Into Passenger Ferry in Irish Sea — Reports 

    Sputnik: There have been a number of questions raised before about the movements of UK submarines in the Irish Sea. Should standards be higher and more transparent? And is it time to curtail movements?

    Arthur West: This incident that you see.. there's been recent reports on a number of safety incidents vastly nuclear-based, weapons-based; so it's not just this, there's other incidents that have happened. So there's going to be a thorough investigation into what happens here, and that's what we've been calling for, that also there's got to be a look at how there's going to be less traffic in the Irish Sea, how you make it safer.

    And also, frankly, that there's got to be more transparency, and a bit more information available about what's actually going on. As the investigation is going to go on, the Royal Navy need to cooperate with this investigation, but they also need to think about the movement, and they need to think about the safety of travelling in certain areas. I think that the Royal Navy have got to look at the procedures and at the way they operate in relation to the UK submarines.

    And I think that is definitely without question after this incident. It just seems to me that there are some health and safety issues, and maybe some technical issues; but there also seems to be a bit of a disregard for health and safety as well. I sometimes wonder if they actually take enough care, and that's just very worrying. And the Royal Navy need to think about what they're up to, because, as I said, there's been a report not that long ago about the number of incidents since Paisley, in recent years. So it's very worrying what the cause is, and that's what we need to look at, surely.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    submarine, accident, British Royal Navy, Irish Sea, United Kingdom, Ireland
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