Nuclear Weapons

Defence written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North Devon of 6 March 2007, Official Report, column 1877W, on nuclear weapons, what estimate he has made of the cost of decommissioning future (a) submarine reactor hulls and cores and (b) facilities used to create future fissile nuclear materials and nuclear warheads for any replacement Trident nuclear programme after 2055.

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

As I explained to Nick Harvey on 6 March 2007, Hansard, column 1877W, the estimate of in-service support costs of the UK's nuclear deterrent set out at paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper, "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (Cm 6994), includes an allowance for the decommissioning of a successor to the current system. At this very early stage, we are not in a position to provide figures in the way requested.

In 1995, the UK announced that it had ceased production of fissile material for weapons purposes. This moratorium remains in place, and we do not envisage any requirement to change this position.

The UK's current warhead design is likely to last into the 2020s, and decisions on whether and how we may need to refurbish or replace it are likely to be necessary in the next Parliament.

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