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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British personnel were involved in the design competition for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. (258416)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British personnel were briefed on the results of the Reliable Replacement Warhead design competition. (258417)

Officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Atomic Weapons Establishment regularly discuss a range of nuclear matters with their US counterparts under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. I am withholding information about the detail of these discussions in the interests of national security.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the date was of each meeting of the Joint Working Group since 2001; and what the purpose of each meeting was. (258424)

The following Joint Working Groups (JOWOGS) operate under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement:

Joint working group

Title

6

Radiation Simulation and Kinetic Effects

9

Energetic Materials

22

Nuclear Materials

23

Warhead Electrical Components and Technologies

28

Non-Nuclear Materials

29

Nuclear Counter-Terrorism Technology

30

Facilities

31

Nuclear Weapons Engineering

32

Nuclear Warhead Physics

34

Computational Technology

36

Aircraft, Missile and Space System Hardening

37

Laboratory Plasma Physics

39

Manufacturing Practices

41

Nuclear Warhead Accident Response

42

Nuclear Weapon Code Development

43

Nuclear Weapon Environment and Damage Effects

44

Methodologies for Nuclear Weapon Safety Assurance

Since January 2001 the following number of JOWOG and JOWOG related meetings have taken place:

Meetings in the US

Meetings in the UK

Total number of meetings

2001

118

62

180

2002

133

66

199

2003

133

58

191

2004

118

87

205

2005

168

75

243

2006

159

80

239

2007

207

91

298

2008

187

93

280

2009 (to date)

23

10

33

I am withholding further detail of the content of JOWOG discussions in the interests of national security.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what visits have been made by (a) US personnel to Aldermaston and (b) Aldermaston personnel to (i) Los Alamos, (ii) Sandia and (iii) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in each year since 2003; and what the purpose of each of those visits was. (258427)

The total number of visits by Atomic Weapons Establishment personnel to each of the US national laboratories and vice versa in support of all aspects of work covered by the Mutual Defence Agreement (including the Polaris Sales Agreement as amended for Trident), is as follows:

To Los Alamos

From Los Alamos

2003

228

242

2004

130

215

2005

183

152

2006

194

170

2007

312

182

2008

217

255

2009 (to date)

35

37

To Sandia

From Sandia

2003

155

104

2004

162

103

2005

271

70

2006

213

104

2007

288

151

2008

291

185

2009 (to date)

93

13

To Lawrence Livermore

From Lawrence Livermore

2003

104

87

2004

123

93

2005

205

105

2006

156

97

2007

217

143

2008

149

140

2009 (to date)

28

13

These figures include personnel making more than one visit, and visits to several sites during a single trip.

I am withholding further detail of the purpose of these visits in the interests of national security.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether scientists from the United States have made use of hydrodynamic facilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment for experiments on US warhead designs. (258434)

Under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, joint UK/US hydrodynamic experiments have been carried out to ensure the continued safety, security, and performance of our current nuclear stockpiles.