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.