Nuclear Free Seas Floatilla

Nuclear Free Seas

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2002 | 2002 News Archive | Press Statements | Growing Opposition | Government Statements

25-10-03 US nuclear submarine hits seabed

French authorities are to release a study this week examining radioactivity levels in the Mediterranean Sea south of Corsica a month after a US nuclear submarine accidently ran into the seabed there.

Officials from the Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) said the report was commissioned after officials on the French island expressed concern at potential environmental damage.

US military officials only revealed the accident November 12, three weeks after the nuclear-powered Los Angeles class sub ran aground in waters between Corsica and the Italian island of Sardinia on October 25.

The US Navy's submarine group based in Naples told AFP at the time that, though the vessel suffered damage to its rudder and scrapes along its bottom, there should be no environmental consequences.

"There was no danger from the submarine to anyone or to the environment. There was no effect on the (nuclear) propulsion system at all," a spokeswoman, Commander Kate Meuller, said.

She added that "there was no breach of the sub's watertight integrity."

Meuller did not confirm or deny that the submarine was carrying nuclear weapons.

The submarine's captain and commander were relieved of their command and six other crewmembers were charged with dereliction of duty over the incident.