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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the UK has made to the USA's programme for a new generation of earth penetrating nuclear weapons. [112196]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken since the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference in 2000 to increase the transparency of United Kingdom nuclear weapons capability. [111706]

During and since the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, the United Kingdom has taken various steps to enhance transparency about its nuclear weapons capability.The UK has given a figure for our total nuclear warhead stockpile which is unprecedentedly precise, and has given an exact figure for the number of

warheads carried by the submarine on deterrent patrol. No other nuclear weapon state has given such detailed information. We have also:

continued to provide updated information about the costs of the Trident system;
placed fissile material no longer required for defence purposes under international safeguards and all enrichment and reprocessing facilities in the UK are now liable to international inspection. We have also been more transparent about our nuclear and fissile material stockpiles and begun national historical accounting for fissile material produced, including the publication in April 2000 of a report on Historical Accounting and Plutonium; and
agreed an Additional Protocol to our safeguards agreement with the IAEA and EURATOM. It will enter into force when the rest of the EU has completed the necessary steps.

The Government are committed to transparency and openness about the defence nuclear programme when compatible with continuing security requirements and the UK's international obligations under Article 1 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.