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Britain's Sub-Diversive Activities.

GIBRALTAR -- The tragic sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk captured the world's headlines, but another atomic sub disaster poses a continuing threat to Europe. According to The Sunday Times, the 280-foot British nuclear sub Tireless came within "a few minutes" of a reactor meltdown when its coolant system sprang a leak while on patrol off Sicily last summer. The Ministry of Defense refused to disclose how much radioactive coolant water was discharged into the Mediterranean Sea. The Tireless was to have returned to Britain for repairs but that plan was abandoned in November because of potential risks "to the submarine, its crew and ... coastal communities." Attempting to repair the Tireless at Gibraltar would violate Royal Navy procedures. Gibraltar has no facilities for radiation monitoring, and the damaged vessel was tied up only 1,800 meters from the desalination plant that supplies Gibraltar's drinking water. Leaked cooling water can contain deadly isotopes of plutoniurn, iodine, cesium, strontium and cobalt.
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Title Annotation:nuclear submarine accident
Publication:Earth Island Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Previous Article:London Goes Green with "Red Ken".
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