Sub standards

Scott Macnab’s article (19 June) on the Trident contract is sensationalist. The Astute class is not a replacement for Vanguard submarines.

The new design reactor is for a class of sub to replace the Vanguard class.

It could have been a much more interesting article if it had talked about natural flow reactors or molten salt reactors.

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It could also have discussed the possibility that even America will find it too expensive to replace Trident with a similar system, and whether or not development of cruise missiles (that could be launched from the Astute class) be the way forward. After all, the threat has changed since Polaris was designed.

Guy Chappell



The morally outraged protesters against the development of a new and improved range of nuclear power plants for submarines forget what else they could give us in the non-military field.

Instead of the submarines being loaded with missiles they could be loaded with multiple power plants to provide a mobile source of electricity which could be positioned almost anywhere around the coast and plugged into the grid to make up for the shortfall of wind power during the inevitable periods of calm weather.

The submarines themselves would be a lot cheaper than the missile versions as they would not need all the very expensive military systems nor be designed for operation at extreme depths. They could, indeed, be surface vessels, but, if submersible, they would be tsunami-proof as well as earthquake-proof.

They would obviously require minimal real estate and, when re-fitting or decommisioning is required they would be sailed off to a dedicated facility.

The principle could be applied to decommisioned missile boats. I am sure that at the end of their military service they would still have a significant life expectancy under non-warfare preparedness conditions. So, cut out the misssile module and replace it with a module of multiple power units. Swords into ploughshares.

This approach would also support a high tech British industry. More than can be said for wind turbines.

No idea on costs, but it couldn’t be more than wind, could it?

Peter Kent


Meikle Wartle