Britain to spend 3 billion on new nuclear weapons

Britain, with the world's fourth-largest nuclear weapons armament, is to spend 3 billion on a new generation of nuclear warheads.

Despite the fact that with these weapons Britain is capable of destroying the world if it gets very, very angry and therefore no country will probably be stupid enough to try and invade her, there will still be some CND members crying into their tofu over this decision.....

Britain to spend 3 billion on new nuclear warheads

By Daily Mail Reporter
25th July 2008
Daily Mail

The Ministry of Defence plans to spend more than 3billion on new nuclear warheads, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ministers have previously insisted there were no plans to replace warheads as part of the upgrade of the Trident nuclear system.

But papers reveal one of the MoD's senior officials told a private gathering of arms manufacturers the decision had already been taken.

Britain test fires one of its nuclear missiles which will soon be replaced by a new generation

Documents seen by the Guardian newspaper show David Gould, the then-chief operating officer at the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, said warheads would be replaced.

He told a meeting: 'This afternoon we are going to outline our plan to maintain the UK's nuclear deterrent.

'The intention is to replace the entire Vanguard class submarine system. Including the warhead and missile.'

David Gould's 'speaking note' was released following a Freedom of Information request

The MoD this morning denied there are any plans to replace Britains stockpile of nuclear weapons and said the documents released were a 'speaking note', not a transcript of a speech, and did not reflect Government policy.

A spokesman referred to the 2006 White Paper on the future of the country's nuclear deterrent and insisted the Government stood by its pledge to make no decision before the next Parliament - likely to be after 2010.

He said: 'As stated in the December 2006 White Paper Future of the UK's Nuclear Deterrent, decisions on whether and how to refurbish or replace our existing nuclear warheads are likely to be necessary in the next Parliament.

'To inform those decisions, we are undertaking a detailed review of the optimum life of the existing warhead stockpile and analysing the range of replacement options that might be available. No decisions have yet been taken.'

Mr Gould's comments were made at a future deterrent industry day event in June last year.

When his 'speaking notes' of the event were initially released, officials blanked out the final sentence referring to the warheads. But the sentence was reinstated after an appeal.

The Government committed to reducing its arsenal of Trident warheads by 20 per cent in the 2006 White Paper The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent.

It gave a cost of at least 3 billion to replace the warheads.

Opponents say the plans would commit Britain to a nuclear weapons system up to 2055 when the current system is supposed to become obsolete by around 2025.

They also claim pressing ahead with a new generation of warheads now - before the non-proliferation treaty review conference in 2010 - could breach international agreements.

Anti-nuclear campaigners believe the documents 'destroy any remaining credibility' in the claim that no decision on new warheads has been made.

Thousands of anti-Trident campaigners marched through Edinburgh last November

Kate Hudson, chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: 'This document destroys any remaining credibility in the Government's claim that it has not yet made a decision on new nuclear warheads.

'Staffing at the Atomic Weapons Establishment has grown by a third in the last five years, with billions spent on new facilities, yet throughout this the Government has been telling MPs and the public that it would be years before any decision was needed.

'It is a disgrace that the MoD is secretly telling the defence industry one thing, whilst ministers are saying quite the opposite to Parliament.'

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey told the Guardian: "Des Browne (the Defence Secretary) needs to urgently explain how the extract from this speech could so clearly contradict stated government policy on a new warhead.

'This government promised an open and transparent debate about replacing Trident, but this feels more like the cloak and dagger days of the Cold War.'
lone wolf
Sure, why not.... People are going hungry and homeless, but just go right ahead and make it so you can peel the surface off the Earth three more times

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