Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning

Defence written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Dai Davies Dai Davies Independent, Blaenau Gwent

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of decommissioning (a) nuclear submarine hulls, reactor compartments and propulsion reactors, (b) warhead design and production facilities at Aldermaston and (c) fissile material stores at Sellafield should it be decided to go ahead with a replacement for Trident; and whether any independent audit of such decommissioning expenditure has been made.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence

Paragraph 7-5 of the White Paper: "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (Cm 6994) indicated that decisions on whether to acquire a replacement for the Trident missile are unlikely to be needed until the 2020s. The White Paper set out the decisions needed now to join the programme to extend the life of the Trident D5 missile and to start detailed concept work on new submarines to replace the Vanguard class.

The Ministry of Defence has made provision in its accounts for a wide range of nuclear decommissioning liabilities. The latest estimate of these liabilities is shown in the Ministry of Defence annual report and accounts for 2005-06, HC1394, which were certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General. More detail is set out in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend Paul Flynn on 24 July 2006, Hansard, columns 778-79W.

The estimate for the in-service costs of the UK's nuclear deterrent, once new submarines come into operation, set out at paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper includes an allowance for the decommissioning costs of a successor system. This estimate has not been subject to external scrutiny. At this very early stage, we are not in a position to provide a breakdown of decommissioning costs in the way requested.

Investment at the Atomic Weapons Establishment has been increased in recent years primarily in order to ensure we can sustain the existing Trident warhead in-service for as long as necessary. This investment involves the replacement or refurbishment of a number of facilities related to the design and production of nuclear warheads. Proceeding with the plan to replace our Vanguard-class submarines and participate in the life extension programme for the Trident D5 missile would not have a material effect on these plans. As the White Paper makes clear, decisions on whether and how to replace or refurbish our warhead stockpile are likely to be necessary in the next Parliament.

Facilities at Sellafield are the responsibility of the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes7 people think so

No2 people think not

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James Anstee
Posted on 14 Mar 2007 12:19 pm (Report this annotation)

Nuclear Dai at it again!!! wasting the hard earned money of the people of Blaeanu Gwent. Are you following your own agenda, Mr Davies, or are these really constituent issues? Maybe the member should be more concerned with representing our views to the government and not pushing his own agenda at the expense of the people he represents.

anthony lynch
Posted on 14 Mar 2007 1:02 pm (Report this annotation)

i think Dai is making the comparison of the costs of the nuclear deteent against the lack of funding given Wales James. wll I'd like to think so anyway

James Anstee
Posted on 14 Mar 2007 2:35 pm (Report this annotation)

Anthony I hope you are right also, but looking at Nuclear Dai's performance so far on this issue it does seen as though he is pushing his own agenda at the expense of his constituents, he has the perfect opprtunity to raise this issue on the floor of the house today (Wed) on the debate on the replacement of Tridant, he doesnt have to waste £130+ of OUR money when he can get up and ask this in the commons. There is nothing in his question about funding for Wales. Last time checked Aldermaston and Sellafeild were not in Wales or Blaenau Gwent.

Wasting money when he could have raised this issue on the floor of the house.

Whats the odds that Dai isn't even in Westminster?

Ken Brookman
Posted on 14 Mar 2007 6:49 pm (Report this annotation)

Paragraph 7-5 of the White Paper: "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (Cm 6994)

Why didn't nuclear Dai check it out once again. £31,910 is now the cost of his silly questions.

The point made by James about his failure to attend parliament to speak is evident with the statistics. Pretty poor really. He is so anti nuclear that I am beginning to think he has some shares in some other generating system. It can't be wind farms as he is against them in this constituency at least. Perhaps he has discover the holy grail of getting electricity from water??
Must have been talking to his mate Geoff.

Robert Nicholson
Posted on 15 Mar 2007 11:57 pm (Report this annotation)

Have you read 'The Nuclear Barons'yet Ken?
Do you think Boris and the many other MPs with outside interests spend their time as they should? MEPs signing in and out to collect their allowances. Your ermine cloaked buddy NK really looked after Marta didn't he? How many years is it since the EU accounts were signed off?
Pick on the real wasters of our money! Why was Riley Bechtel given a K?
£31,910: Ordinary bean counters in KPMG can extract that amount from our collective wallet in a couple of weeks.
I feel another 2012 Qlympics style costing coming on. Gain now for some - pain for our great-great grandchildren whether it is used or not. Dai is doing the hard graft bit - give him some credit.

anthony lynch
Posted on 16 Mar 2007 12:12 pm (Report this annotation)

but the cost of a nuclear deterent and subsequent add on costs has a detremental effeect on spending in wales

anthony lynch
Posted on 16 Mar 2007 12:16 pm (Report this annotation)

look half of all MPs are never in parliament anyway are they, if one has a day off they arrange for a member of the opposition to do like wise. Dai must be everyones poodle

Ken Brookman
Posted on 16 Mar 2007 1:38 pm (Report this annotation)

To Robert re Nuclear Barons.
I have got it from a good web site, some book company called "Kenny's" from Ireland. Looks good and shall get into it in time. Regarding MEP's I agree with that but still think the £31,910 wasted by my MP is no to be sniffed at. If they all got a grip and stopped wasting money there would be lots more to go round to the needy. MP's are just voting some new allowance for communications of all things but my Dai shouldn't need it. He even said that MP's should get the same salary as the average wage in the community. Does he also mean that for doctors, teachers etc???. Stupid point really. So all the Chelsea tractor lot will get five times more than MP's in less well off regions. I don't mind MP's getting a decent salary as long as they earn it and deserve it.

anthony lynch
Posted on 24 Mar 2007 8:33 pm (Report this annotation)

Its the government wasting money ken on Olympics nuclear deterents and involvement in conflicts, I thought the american debt had been paid off. while west wales and the valleys get crumbs instead of Objective 1. thats the nature of the UK's EU rebate, the UK governement can spend as much or as little as it wants on EU ratified programs.
And when the money gets here its wasted on such things as renovations to the ebbw vale multistorey complete with bright neon illumination which have been perminantly switched off due to running costs.
At a guess, installation of the lighting system was around about £35,000. that could have been better spent else where in the community. It was a dead cert that this iconic symbol of regeneration would be switched off due to cost. so why install it.
Ingrees of rain water apart, the exterior finish was going somewhere but done on the cheap with poor quality control. window dressing really. Labour spin to fool the local pop into thinking something was being done in the area.
The import of italian stainles steel must have risen since Ob1. Has any one thought to tell our planners of Ob1 that stainless steel was never produced at Ebbw Vale.
Every scheme seems to over run the costs, the contractors involved must be laughing all the way to the bank when they take their grant money back to Cardiff, Bristol and elsewhere in the UK and overseas
Pheewwww!!! wot a rant