On 6 March 2014, the then Secretary of State for Defence announced the decision to refuel HMS Vanguard and, pending an assessment, to keep the option open to refuel for HMS Victorious in 2018. This was a prudent precaution following the discovery in 2012 of a microscopic breach in the cladding around one of the fuel cells in the prototype reactor plant at our Shore Test Facility at Dounreay in Scotland. Having conducted an evidence based assessment it has been determined that it is not necessary to refuel HMS Victorious.
The safety of the United Kingdom’s submarine force remains our highest priority. We continue to work closely with the independent regulators to ensure the safety of operations both alongside and at sea.
Our submarine-based deterrent has been safely operating, for over 50 years and studies have demonstrated that no alternative system is as capable, resilient or cost effective as the current deterrent on continuous patrol.