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A UK nuclear submarine had its broken bolts fixed with superglue, report says

HMS VanguardBritish submarine HMS Vanguard in 2009.

LA(P) Ritchie Harvey/AFP via Getty Images

  • The British Navy launched a probe after finding a “defect” in a nuclear submarine, The Sun reported.
  • Broken bolts on HMS Vanguard’s reactor chamber were glued on instead of replaced, the report said.
  • A Royal Navy source told The Sun that the discovery was a “disgrace.”

The British Navy ordered an urgent investigation this week after finding that the broken bolts in a nuclear submarine were fixed with superglue, The Sun newspaper reported.

Inspectors said they found a “defect” on the HMS Vanguard during a recent maintenance check at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, England, according to The Sun.

At least seven broken bolts on the submarine’s reactor chamber were glued on instead of replaced, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the newspaper. They originally broke due to overtightening, The Sun reported.

The bolts were found just as workers were set to fire up the reactor to full power for the first time, the newspaper said.

The MoD said the fault was “promptly reported and fixed,” while contractor Babcock told The Sun there were no nuclear safety issues and the reactor would not have exploded had the damage not been found.

Former submarine captain Cdr. Ryan Ramsay told The Sun: “This is a massive trust issue for Babcock and the Royal Navy to resolve. It makes you wonder what else has been done poorly.”

Another Navy source, who was not named, told the newspaper: “It’s a disgrace. You can’t cut corners with nuclear. Standards are standards. Nuclear standards are never compromised.”

The submarine carries Trident ballistic missiles and is one of the country’s four nuclear-powered nuclear submarines.

A spokesperson for both the Royal Navy and Babcock did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

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