Faslane Naval Base

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Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde (also HMS Neptune) is one of three operating bases in the UK for the Royal Navy. It is the service's headquarters in Scotland and is best known as the home of Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent, in the form of nuclear submarines armed with Trident missiles.

HMNB Clyde lies on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, to the north of the Firth of Clyde and 25 mi (40 km) west of the city of Glasgow. The submarine base encompasses a number of separate sites, the primary two being:

  • Faslane, 25 miles from Glasgow
  • RNAD Coulport, beside Loch Long, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Faslane.

Faslane base serves as home to Britain's fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines, as well as conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines, supported by the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.

Faslane is also a Defence Equipment and Support site, operated in dual site organisation with Great Harbour, Greenock, by Babcock Marine and Technology and managed by Serco Denholm.

Recent controversies

In October 2013 the Ministry of Defence admitted that '11 significant safety incidents had taken place at two nuclear submarine bases in Britain in the past five years. Six had happened at Faslane and five at Devonport in Plymouth.

The extent of the problems was revealed by Defence Minister Philip Dunne after a parliamentary question from Scottish National Party (SNP) defence spokesman Angus Robertson.

These included spilled radioactive waste, workers exposed to radiation, power supplies lost, safety valves wrongly operated and a bag of waste mistakenly dropped overboard.

Six Faslane incidents Faslane weredefined as 'category B' - the second-worst rating, involving 'actual or high potential for a contained release within building or submarine or unplanned exposure to radiation'.

In 2008, valves on board a submarine were shut "in error", causing a loss of power. In 2009, there were two problems with cranes at Faslane being used more often than they should be without authorisation.
These answers from the MoD make for scary reading," Robertson told the Sunday Herald. "They concern the most serious types of incidents, and information about them wouldn't be made public without asking."
Although the MoD described what happened in ten instances, it refused to give details of one event at Devonport because "disclosure would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces". This was alarming and unacceptable, Robertson said.

Yet according to the Sunday Herald, Dunne 'maintained that all but one of the incidents - the 2010 safety valve problem at Devonport - were not serious enough to rate on the International Nuclear Event Scale used to grade nuclear accidents. Radioactive contamination had not caused a danger to the environment or human health, he said'.[1]


  1. Rob Edwards, Workers exposed to radiation at Faslane, 26 October 2013