THE UK Government has given Scots a “kick in the teeth” after defence chiefs announced delays to the dismantling of radioactive nuclear submarines left to rust in Scottish waters.

Seven vessels have been lying in Rosyth dockyard since the 1980s after being decommissioned by the British military.

Despite containing nuclear waste, Defence Minister Jeremy Quin confirmed in Parliament that there have been further delays to plans to dismantle the ships and decontaminate the area.

The ships include HMS Dreadnought, the UK’s first nuclear-powered submarine, which was retired from service in 1980.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman expressed “grave concern” about the development.

The National:

The SNP told the Courier: “For years I’ve been calling for some real progress to be made in getting these subs scrapped and out of my constituency.

“To hear there have been further delays is a kick in the teeth to the Rosyth community.

“Rest assured, I’ll continue to keep up the pressure on the government to get a move on with this, so Rosyth can be rid of these decrepit subs once and for all.”

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The Ministry of Defence began the dismantling project in 2016, removing radioactive waste from the first of the vessels, Swiftsure, and setting a completion date of 2023.

It has also removed low-level radioactive waste from a second submarine, Resolution, and said last year that good progress was being made.

But asked by Chapman for a progress report in Parliament, Quin said the pandemic had caused delays.

He responded: “We remain committed to continuing to decommission these boats in a safe and swift way.

“There were, and I have written to the honourable gentleman, some small delays due to Covid, but they were minimal, and we are continuing with the programme and are committed to continuing to do so.”