§ Mr. John Evans
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the most serious accident that has taken place in or near dock in British waters of a British or American nuclear-powered submarine.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
Comprehensive records of accidents involving nuclear submarines since the start of the nuclear submarine programme are not readily available. The most serious accident in terms of harm resulting to people is believed to be the death of a Royal Navy officer who fell from HMS Dreadnought while in dock at Chatham in 1976. There has never been any accident involving a Royal Navy submarine which has led to a radiological hazard to service personnel or members of the public.
The United States would be obliged under a bilateral agreement to inform Her Majesty's Government immediately in the event of an accident involving the reactor of a nuclear-powered warship visiting the United Kingdom; no such accident has been reported to us.