A ROSYTH councillor has called for assurances that rotting nuclear submarines will not be sent to Australia for disposal.

Brian Goodall, who is UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authority's spokesperson on nuclear submarine decommissioning, said he has written to the UK's foreign and defence secretaries. 

He's asked for confirmation that vessels will not go overseas if a new Australian law passes without amendments.

Seven old subs have been laid up at Rosyth Dockyard for decades with Dreadnought being there for the longest – more than 40 years – waiting to be scrapped.

The UK and USA signed a pact with Australia to build and operate a new fleet of nuclear submarines which includes the provision of new conventionally armed, but nuclear powered, vessels for the Australian Navy.

READ MORE: Nuclear submarines to be removed from Rosyth by 2035

To support the pact, legislators down under have proposed a new Australian Naval Nuclear Power Safety Bill 2024.

Dunfermline Press: Cllr Brian GoodallCllr Brian Goodall (Image: Contributed)

This appears to allow the disposal of high level radioactive waste from British and American submarines on Australian soil, and also for the storage of such materials in Australia from "a submarine that is not complete".

In his letter to Lord Cameron and Grant Shapps, Cllr Goodall expressed concern that this could theoretically mean permitting "the towing of redundant UK boats from Rosyth and Devonport down under for disposal".

He said he fears that this could result in the loss of local expertise and jobs if it comes into practice.

He adds: "Surely as the operators of our own submarines, the UK Government should remain responsible for the storage of the resultant high-level waste and for their safe decommissioning in home ports?

READ MORE: Submarine dismantling programme suffers "small delays" because of covid

"Not only will this preserve the expertise in these matters that has developed after many years of trial and error, but, as a ward member for the Rosyth Dockyard, it will also preserve the jobs in my local community."

Back in 2022, the Press reported pledges from the UK Government that all laid-up submarines would be gone as part of plans to "de-nuclearise Rosyth" by 2035.

Councillors were given an update on the programme to remove radioactive waste and turn the seven boats that have been parked at the dockyard for decades into "tin cans and razor blades".

The Ministry of Defence have previously faced heavy criticism for the delays and sky-high costs in dealing with the nuclear legacy, with 27 Royal Navy subs to be scrapped in total.