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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on preliminary (a) studies and (b) projects relating to the possible next generation of British nuclear weapons in each of the past four years; and what sums have been earmarked for expenditure in each of the next four years.
Decisions on whether to replace the UK's current nuclear deterrent have not yet been taken. We will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure that the range of options for maintaining a nuclear deterrent capability is kept open until that point, in line with the policy set out in the December 2003 Defence White Paper (Cm 6041–1). This includes sustainment of capabilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston. It is not possible precisely to assign costs at Aldermaston between work to support current and possible future deterrent systems. Future spending plans in this area have yet to be finalised.