A recent collision between two nuclear submarines in the Atlantic Ocean has raised concerns among anti-nuclear organizations.
In the incident that took place earlier this month involved British and French submarines that were undergoing exercises. Neither sub suffered any heavy damage, and there was no loss in containment of the nuclear material on board.
The HMS Vanguard (see photo) is one of Britain's four nuclear powered subs. She was launched in 1994 and holds 16 nuclear-armed Trident missiles. The French's Le Triomphant was launched in 1997 and also carries 16 nuclear missiles.
This is not the first accident to involve nuclear submarines, and that safety record is a major concern for anti-nuclear activists. When the safety issues from the nuclear submarine service are coupled with those involving nuclear reactors, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. A disaster involving one of the land-based nuclear plants, or a sub-based platform, would be disastrous.
To date there are six nuclear submarines that have sunk in incidents. Two were American and four were Russian. There have been 14 incidents involving radiation issues from on board nuclear reactors. And, of course, that does not account for the instances that were not leaked or released to the public.
This is an issue of major concern here in Connecticut. First, we are home to General Electric, suppliers of nearly all nuclear weapons and power plants to the U.S. Navy. We also have the Electric Boat Company, which builds the latest nuclear subs for the Navy based in Groton, CT. And last, but not least, our nuclear safety concerns involve both the Indian Point and Millstone plants. A breakdown in any one of these would be catastrophic for those living nearby, and we are very much in Ground Zero.
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