Falmouth 'nuclear store' plans revealed
8:10am Tuesday 7th February 2012 in Falmouth/Penryn
Plans to create a nuclear warhead depot near Falmouth could be resurrected in light of possible Scottish independence.
At present, Trident nuclear arms are stored at Faslane and Coulport in Scotland, but, if the country votes for independence, it is believed the Ministry of Defence will have to find new homes for the weapons.
A report prepared in 1963 looked at possible sites for the warheads, including Falmouth and Devonport.
Despite being discounted at the time for being too expensive, officials will now have to start looking for a contingency plan in case a vote for independence, likely to take place in 2014, sees the UK split up.
Although the Falmouth plan is seen as prohibitively expensive and environmentally damaging, it remains one of the few sites in the UK identified as a possible location.
A report prepared by anti-nuclear campaign group CND suggests any move to house a facility close to Falmouth would see villages, including Mylor, abandoned to make way for the warhead store.
The report, entitled ‘Trident: Nowhere to go’, states: “The third location was Falmouth. The proposed submarine base would be on National Trust land close to St Just in Roseland. Acquiring this would be very difficult if not impossible.
“The warhead depot would be North of Falmouth.
“Two villages would be so close to the depot that they would have to be abandoned. Both are significant centres for watersports, especially Mylor Churchtown where Ben Ainslie learned to sail.
“In 1963 the MOD concluded that the costs of acquiring and developing this site for Polaris would be so great that the project wasn’t feasible.
“A Trident depot would be much larger and even less viable. jobs that might arise from introducing Trident would be offset by a major decline in the watersports industry and tourism.
“In 1963 officials proposed combining a submarine base at Devonport with an armaments depot at Falmouth.
“But there would still be huge problems at the two sites. This plan would still mean introducing nuclear missiles into Plymouth and taking over a large peninsula on the Fal estuary.
“A nuclear missile depot would ruin the tourism and watersports industries in Falmouth and bring few long-term jobs.”
An MoD spokesman said: “The UK Government’s position is clear and we are arguing the case for Scotland to remain within the Union.
“However, any decisions on Scotland’s future are for people in Scotland to decide.”
Falmouth mayor Geoffrey Evans was stunned to hear about the idea. He said: “It is ridiculous, how could they ever dream of doing that?
“We have had to fight tooth and nail to get the dredging done because of all the environmental concerns, I cannot see how they would get plans for a nuclear weapons facility through.”