LONDON — Britain’s National Audit Office has sharply criticized the Ministry of Defence for failing to properly dispose of its obsolete nuclear-powered submarines.

The watchdog says the ministry has not disposed of any of the 20 vessels decommissioned since 1980.

Underlining the long-term nature of nuclear waste, the total future liability for maintaining and disposing of the 20 stored and 10 in-service nuclear-powered boats is estimated to be 7.5 billion pounds ($9.8 billion) over the next 120 years.

Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier complained about the “dismal lack of progress,” by the ministry to address the issue.

She says "the ministry needs to get a grip urgently" before the country damages its reputation as a responsible nuclear power.

The ministry says it will act “as soon as practically possible.”

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