POLICE were called out as campaigners staged a demonstration over an “inadequate” safety plan for nuclear submarines visiting Southampton.

Members of the Solent Coalition Against Nuclear Ships (SCANS) donned anti-radiation suits and wore gags in protest at the refusal to allow them to present a critical report to a public meeting of emergency planners.

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A report by independent nuclear expert John Large warned safety assessments were “inadequate” to host a nuclear powered submarine after councillors agreed to adopt one of the Royal Navy’s new hunter killer subs, HMS Artful.

SCANS chairman David Hoadley said the safety arrangements for a radiation leak were “not fit for purpose” and a risk to residents.

But council leader Royston Smith insisted the city was “well prepared for major emergencies, including nuclear leaks”.

He said: “Let’s be clear – the chance of a nuclear leak in a submarine happening is around once in every 20,000 years. And if that happens it is highly likely that any leak would be contained in the submarine. “ He added: “Residents should not in any way be concerned that we are not well prepared to protect them in an emergency.”

Police were called out to make sure the demonstration outside St Mary’s Stadium went off peacefully. No arrests were made.