Avisa iTromsø has January 12 good and informative report on a “visit” to another American nuclear powered submarine to Tønsnes in Troms.
In the report take the undersigned he recommends that the residents of Troms should be notified of the submarine call several days before the call is made. The reason is that ev. Accidents with nuclear-powered ships (collisions with civilian ships, run aground, fires on board, engine failures, etc.) carry a much greater danger to the environment and residents than similar accidents with diesel-powered submarines. In the worst case, the radioactive release would mean that residents of Troms would have to be evacuated on short notice.
In peace work experience we are persistent that the danger of such accidents is underestimated by the authorities. The probability of an accident is minimal, he said. Yes. It was also highly unlikely that a state-of-the-art Norwegian frigate with the best navigational equipment would collide and sink. However, the frigate “Helge Ingstad” sank in 2018 off the Hjeltefjorden after colliding with a tanker. Similarly, UK HSE’s “Campbeltown” ran aground at Rystraumen outside Troms in April 2020. There are many other examples of technological and human failure on military ships. If there’s one thing we can learn from history, it’s that the impossible can happen.
Because it’s important that the authorities can document to residents that any accident with a nuclear submarine is manageable, to the extent possible. Apart from reassuring talks from government officials (most recently by military spokeswoman Elisabeth Eikeland in the Troms report on January 12), no documentation has yet been provided to the public and the press. Even the idea of informing the residents of Troms long before such a submarine call is incomprehensible among military spokesmen:
‘We have work to do and perform a task. This has been planned for a long time and a thorough professional assessment has been made regarding safety and emergency preparedness. For operational reasons, we didn’t do it in a timely manner. This is because it is a protected activity ».
The message looks like:
- Everything we claim the military civilians can believe blindly, and –
- we in the military have a greater responsibility to protect the interests of America’s nuclear submarines than any civilian population in Troms may have in terms of security and information. In this regard, military spokesmen and other “soft word authorities” should take into account that a growing number of people in the population don’t just believe in soft words about security. We want verifiable security documentation. Have e.g. civil defence, firefighters, police and UNN conduct practical exercises in various possible scenarios? Do you have the necessary equipment and staff for critical functions? If not – is there a plan and budget for repairs?
NAM, activist from peace organizations and political parties as well as representatives of environmental and nature conservation, may continue to demonstrate against the arrival of nuclear-powered ships in Troms. At least as long as no verifiable documentation is presented to the population.
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