New Wall Street Journal Op-ed by US Gang of Four

(R-L) Sam Nunn George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry

(R-L) Sam Nunn George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry

Today the Wall Street Journal published a new op-ed by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn in which they argue that nuclear dangers remain all too real and that “the pace of work doesn’t now match the urgency of the threat.”

Today’s joint op-ed is the fifth since their seminal article of January 2007 which renergised the international momentum for further multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and improved nuclear security. The 2007 article inspired several other “Gangs” of senior statemen to make similar calls in their respective countries. This included United Kingdom with the TLG members Douglas Hurd (former Conservative Foreign Secretary), Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP (former Conservative Foreign and Defence Secretary), George Robertson, (former Labour Defence Secretary and NATO secretary-general), and David Owen (former Labour Foreign Secretary and current Liberal Democrat peer) publishing a letter to the Times in June 2008.

The formation of the Top Level Group was inspired by the example of former Secretaries Shultz, Perry, Kissinger and Senator Nunn. The TLG commends their dedication to reducing the world’s nuclear dangers.

To read the Wall Street Journal article in full, please visit to the Nuclear Threat Initiative website at http://www.nti.org.

Article Published on Europe’s Role in Addressing Nuclear Dangers

Des Browne, Ian Kearns

Last week, TLG Convenor, Lord Browne of Ladyton and Dr. Ian Kearns jointly published an article in “Strategic Europe”, a Carnegie Europe Series publication, entitled “Europe Needs to Shoulder More Responsibility for Addressing Nuclear Dangers”.

To read the article please click here.

Parliamentary Questions on Nuclear Weapons

The past week has seen many questions relating to Nuclear weapons and Britain’s Nuclear deterrent.

On the 30 November TLG member Bob Ainsworth MP wrote to the Secretary of Defence to ask in relation to the 11 November 2010, Official Report, column 449W, on Trident value for money review, what external assistance and technical consultancy his Department commissioned for the Trident value for money review; and how much it spent on each piece of work commissioned. Read Dr Fox’s reply to the former secretary here.

On the same day Tessa Munt MP wrote to ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the proposed UK-France treaty on nuclear weapons co-operation, whether military flights between the UK and France will involve the transportation of nuclear materials. Read the Secretary’s response here. Tessa Munt also asked the Secretary what estimate he could make for replacing the Trident System at current prices. Read Dr Fox’s answer here.

The preceeding day 29 November saw three questions from Julian Huppert MP. The first asking the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of building and operating the proposed new (a) EPURE nuclear warhead testing facilities at Valduc in France and (b) TEUTATES technology development centre at AWE Aldermaston. Read the Minister’s answer here.

Mr Huppert’s second question was similar to one posed on the 22nd November concerning the design life is in effective full-power years of the PWR2 (a) reactor pressure vessel and (b) nuclear steam raising plant. Read the Minister’s reply here.

The third question concerned what (a) contracts have been signed and (b) other agreements have been made with (i) BAE and (ii) other companies in respect of the Future Submarine Programme. Read Minister Peter Luff’s response here.