Gibraltar nuclear submarine row explodes over safety of UK vessel

US Navy submarine, USS Albany, arrives in Gibraltar

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A Spanish environmental group is warning that the presence of a British nuclear submarine in Gibraltar could turn into a catastrophe for Andalucia.

The HMS Astute nuclear-powered submarine is being repaired on Gibraltar’s shores, prompting fears in Spain.

Verdemar-Ecologistas en Acción, an NGO umbrella organisation representing more than 300 environmental groups, is warning the submarine could be dangerous.

They said: “Gibraltar is putting all of Andalucia at nuclear risk by allowing the entry of submarines into the military base.”

According to the University of Cadiz, Gibraltar has plans in place in the event of a nuclear emergency, but there is no such thing in place on the Spanish side of the Rock.

Astute, the British submarine, arrived in Gibraltar on March 4, joining USS Georgia submarine belonging to the US Navy.

The Spanish government protested to the US authorities about the presence of a nuclear-powered submarine in the Port of Gibraltar, despite having adequate facilities a short distance away from the Rota naval base.

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The environmental group has long campaigned against nuclear submarines arriving in the region.

Last year, they stressed that “since HMS Tireless was repaired more than fifteen years ago, more than 100 nuclear-powered submarines have passed through Gibraltar”.

They said: “We continue to insist that they are floating bombs and put our families and our environment at risk.”

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They added: “We are committed to denouncing these entries in all countries bordering the Mediterranean by pressure groups.”

Ecologists in Action state that they do not want nuclear-powered submarines “neither in Gibraltar nor in Rota nor in any part of the world because of the problem they can cause with the reactor and nuclear weapons”.

They concluded: “We have no choice but to warn cruise ships of the risk they run in Gibraltar with these nuclear devices.”

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