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This activity might give the casual observer the impression that the Devonport Flotilla is larger than it really is.
Although the size of the workforce has fallen in proportion to the declining navy, the base still employs around 2,500 civilians and supports a further 400 local companies.
The Submarine Refit Complex (SRC) was constructed at great cost in the 1970s, and further upgraded between 1997-2002.
It is the only facility in the UK that can carry out the complex re-fuelling and de-fuelling of nuclear submarines.
Directly or indirectly, the navy provides work for 20,000 people in the Plymouth area and generates about 10% of the city’s income.
Vessels undergoing FOST make up more than half of the shipping movements around Plymouth.Even if Devonport was closed as a naval base, the refitting of nuclear submarines is likely to continue well into the future.Devonport also has an unspoken ‘shadow role’ as the only realistic alternative base for the nuclear deterrent and attack submarines in the unfortunate event of Scottish independence.There are currently 13 decommissioned nuclear submarines lying in Devonport awaiting disposal with more to come.Further reductions in active vessels based there adds to the perception that the site is becoming a “nuclear graveyard”.