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Spain keeps eye on bay radiation

The British Government is looking into claims that the Spanish Navy routinely monitors radiation levels in the Bay of Gibraltar every time nuclear-powered submarines call at the Rock.

The monitoring is said to be carried out by a specialist unit based in Rota known as the Grupo Operativo de Vigilancia Radiológica (GOVRA), or radiological surveillance operational group.

The unit has reportedly been carrying out these checks since at least 2000 when HMS Tireless arrived in Gibraltar with a leak in its primary reactor cooling circuit.

While its existence is not secret, very little is known about the unit’s work apart from occasional references in official reports and a handful of media articles over the past 16 years.

The GOVRA’s activities were flagged up again in two separate reports last month after the Astute-class submarine HMS Ambush limped into port with a damaged conning tower following a collision with a tanker while submerged off Gibraltar.

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