News Updates

Ministry Of Defence

Written answers and statements, Defence: Military Bases: Radioactive Waste, 24 October 2011

Michael Weir (Angus, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence:
(1) when his Department first received reports of radioactive pollution at Dalgety Bay in Fife;
(2) what surveys his Department has undertaken of Dalgety Bay in Fife;
(3) how many radioactive particles have been recorded at Dalgety Bay in Fife since his Department first received reports of pollution at that location.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency, 18 October 2011

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what specialist roles in relation to the UK nuclear deterrent are carried out by the Ministry of Defence Police; and what plans he has for their future.

Written ministerial statement, Defence: UK-Norway Initiative Workshop, 15 September 2011

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The UK has long been committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. As part of the coalition agreement the Government agreed that we would maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament. The Prime Minister announced a number of disarmament measures as a part of the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) on 19 October 2010. On 29 June 2011 [Hansard, columns 50-51WS] the Secretary of State for Defence announced the early commencement of the programme for implementing the SDSR warhead reductions: at least one of the Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) now carries a maximum of 40 nuclear warheads.

As part of our efforts to make progress on multilateral disarmament, we undertook to build trust and confidence between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states, and committed to take tangible steps towards a safer and more stable world where countries with nuclear weapons feel able to relinquish them. Over a decade ago the Ministry of Defence, together with the atomic weapons establishment, established a disarmament and arms control verification research programme. This work is ongoing and since 2007 we have also been working with Norway to develop some of the techniques that may be required to ensure compliance with any future nuclear disarmament process. This is the first time a nuclear weapon state and a non-nuclear weapon state have worked together in this way. Our work with Norway has demonstrated that nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states alike are able to make an active contribution to disarmament through verification research, while still complying with their non-proliferation obligations. Furthermore, the co-operation of non-nuclear weapon states in nuclear disarmament verification research is necessary in order to achieve effective and mutually trusted verification solutions.

As announced at the P5 conference (30 June-1 July 2011), the UK will host a confidential expert-level meeting of the P5 in early 2012 to discuss lessons learned from the UK’s work with Norway on the verification of nuclear warhead dismantlement. I wish to inform the House that we now intend to share these important lessons with additional non-nuclear weapon states. To this end, the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with Norway, will host a workshop in London in early December 2011. This will enable us to share our progress with technical experts from non-nuclear weapon states that have expressed an interest in the research conducted so far.

This verification research advances progress towards our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and further demonstrates the Government’s commitment to fulfilling the UK’s disarmament obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The Government remain committed to maintaining the minimum credible deterrent necessary to achieve our deterrence objectives of guaranteeing national security.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Written Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Iran: Nuclear Power, 17 October 2011

Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the Bushehr nuclear power project in Iran; and if he will make a statement.

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