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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey) of 28 November 2007, Official Report, column 453W, on nuclear weapons, whether any funding for the work of his Department’s Warhead Pre-Concept Working Group is included in the funding allocation for the Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme; what the cost was of work undertaken by the Warhead Pre-Concept Working Group in 2008-09 and 2009-10; and what estimate he has made of the projected cost of work scheduled to be carried out by the Working Group in the next three years. (319190)

The work previously co-ordinated by the Warhead Pre-Concept Working Group now forms part of studies being undertaken by Atomic Weapon Establishment under the Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme. This is required to inform decisions, likely to be necessary in the next Parliament, on whether and how we may need to refurbish or replace our current warhead. Expenditure amounted to some £7.3 million in 2008-09 and is forecast to be some £16.5 million in 2009-10. Comparable levels of future annual expenditure are anticipated until final decisions are taken.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any stocks of defence special nuclear materials are held at locations other than sites owned by his Department. (319194)

Some special nuclear material is held at sites that are not owned by the Ministry of Defence. I am withholding further information on the location of this material as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice national security and defence in the UK.