Grounded UK nuclear submarine freed

AP News
Posted: Oct 22, 2010 1:40 PM
Grounded UK nuclear submarine freed

Britain's newest nuclear-powered submarine ran aground off the coast of Scotland Friday but officials say the incident was not serious and no one was injured.

The 328-foot-long (100-meter-long) HMS Astute hit rocks off the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, early Friday and was stuck there for hours until Royal Navy vessels towed it to deeper waters during high tide.

The billion pound ($1.57 billion) vessel, one of Britain's fleet of 11 submarines powered by nuclear reactors and launched in 2007, was undergoing sea trials in Scotland when the accident happened, the Ministry of Defense said.

The ministry said it couldn't comment on what may have caused it and will investigate.

"This is a not a nuclear incident," the ministry said in a statement. "We are responding to the incident and can confirm that there are no injuries to personnel and the submarine remains watertight. There is no indication of any environmental impact."

The submarine is armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. It is powered by a nuclear reactor that will never need refueling during its 25-year operational life, according to the ministry.

A crew of around 120 are typically aboard the ship.