Monday, March 13, 2006

Jack Straw refuses to deny a new Trident is being built

Congratulations to Radio 4's Today programme for this morning's questioning of Jack Straw, where under pressure he refused to categorically deny that the British Government is not actively developing a new generation of Trident missiles.

It's shame they did not pursue this, and the Low Carbon Koid urges them to do so in future.

I have a suspicion that it is no coincidence that the government is to decide in this parliament whether to replace Britain’s Trident submarine, missile and warhead system, at the same time as deciding on whether to green light a new generation of nuclear power stations. New missiles will require a new supply of plutonum for the warheads, which requires a reprocessing chain.

Bush is also planning a new generation of Trident, and on Feb 27, U.S. and British government scientists performed an underground nuclear experiment, short of a nuclear blast at the Nevada Test Site.

£1bn has been invested at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston and Burghfield, "to keep safe the existing Trident warhead stockpile". The Royal Navy announced in January that it is spending £125 million upgrading the Faslane naval base on the River Clyde in Scotland, where Trident subs are kept.

Bear in mind that 1/4 of all nuclear waste in this country (which would cost each taxpayer £1000 to render safe at current estimates) is from nuclear weapons.

It has been estimated that any replacement for Trident would cost in excess of £15 billion.

The pertinent questions are:

  1. Why is all this going on if the decision hasn't already been made?
  2. What is the connection between the nuclear reprocessing chain and new Trident missiles?
  3. Where would the plutonium come from?
  4. Why are questions about this not being asked in the context of the energy review?
I think we should be told.

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