Ministry Of Defence

Written answers to questions, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 19 December 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 March 2011, Official Report, column 833W, on nuclear weapons, how much his Department is planning to spend on collaboration with the US Administration on studies on the development of the W88 nuclear warhead.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 March 2011, Hansard, column 833W. The UK is collaborating with the US on a broad range of nuclear issues of mutual interest including US plans for the refurbishment or replacement of non-nuclear components within their W88 nuclear warhead. For the UK, collaboration with the US on the non nuclear components of their W88 programme ensures the sustainability of our own technical knowledge and skills which will assist the assessment of options to inform any future UK warhead decision.

Some £3.5 million is expected to be spent on this collaboration over the next three years.

Written answers to questions, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 19 December 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to refurbish the Rolls-Royce nuclear submarine reactor core plant at Raynesway, Derby; and what the cost to the public purse is of any such refurbishment.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
We are working with Rolls-Royce on plans to refurbish the facilities at Raynesway in Derby over the period 2012 to 2022.

The Ministry of Defence is in commercial negotiations regarding this work; I am therefore withholding cost information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Written answers to questions, Defence: Iran: Nuclear Weapons, 12 December 2011

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the potential for the weaponisation of the Iranian nuclear programme.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
In November the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed

“serious concerns”

about credible information that

“indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

It also suggests that some activities relevant to the development of such a device may still be ongoing. We share these concerns and continue to call for full implementation by Iran of United Nations Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors Resolutions.

Written answers to questions, Defence: Submarines, 1 December 2011

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many submarines are available for operations or are on operations.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Naval Service has seven ship submersible nuclear and four ships submersible ballistic nuclear in various states of readiness for operational service.

Written answers to questions, Defence: Trident, 21 November 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to keep hon. Members informed of the progress and cost of the Trident replacement programme in the remainder of this Parliament prior to the Main Gate point.

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
Both this Government and the previous Administration have regularly updated Parliament on the nuclear deterrent. In recognition of the level of public and parliamentary interest, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to provide an annual update to Parliament; the first of these was produced for the Initial Gate announcement in May of this year. The precise format and timing of subsequent statements is yet to be decided. The MOD will also keep Parliament informed of any major developments on the programme as and when they occur.

Oral answers to questions, Defence: Iran, 14 November 2011

Philip Hollobone (Kettering, Conservative)
What steps his Department is taking in co-operation with other countries to develop future defence initiatives against Iran and to prevent the build-up of that country’s nuclear weapons technology.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The MOD conducts contingency planning for numerous possible scenarios around the world. However, the UK continues to work with other countries to achieve a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We want a negotiated solution, not a military one, but all options should be kept on the table.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 8 November 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which areas his Department has assessed as having the highest risk of cost overrun within the programme to replace Trident nuclear submarines.

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
The project management of the successor submarine programme includes the use of formal, best practice, recognised risk management techniques. This is based upon a joint risk management approach, which is being overseen by a joint Ministry of Defence (MOD)/industry integrated programme management team.

The aim of this approach is to ensure that risks and opportunities are identified and assessed, and that appropriate steps are taken to reduce risk to an acceptable level. There are regular reviews to confirm risks are being managed effectively.

Assurance that risk has been reduced to an acceptable level, and that individual risks have been reflected in the cost modelling, will be important elements of the main gate approval process in 2016. These will be subject to independent scrutiny from within the MOD and from Her Majesty’s Treasury.

I am withholding further details as their disclosure would prejudice commercial interests and impact on the formulation or development of Government policy.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Warships, 2 November 2011

John Redwood (Wokingham, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many warships are available for active service in the Navy.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
Details of the number of Royal Navy warships available, in various states of readiness, for active service are provided in the following table:

Number
Landing Platform Helicopter – 2(1)
Landing Platform Dock – 2
Type 45 Destroyer – 3
Type 42 Destroyer – 4
Type 23 Frigate – 13
Hunt Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel – 8
Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel – 7
River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels – 3
River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (Helicopter) – 1
P2000 Patrol Boats – 18
Ocean Survey Vessels – 1
Coastal Survey Vessels – 3
Ice Patrol Ship – 1
Ships Submersible Ballistic Nuclear – 4
Ship Submersible Nuclear – 7

(1) HMS Illustrious is now operating in the Landing Platform Helicopter role, as well as HMS Ocean.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 31 October 2011

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the necessity of maintaining continuous at-sea deployment by at least one UK Trident submarine for the maintenance of an effective nuclear deterrent policy.

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
As the Prime Minister made clear on 9 February 2011, Hansard, column 295, Continuous at Sea Deterrence (CASD) remains the backbone of our deterrence posture, ensuring a credible and capable deterrent against blackmail and acts of aggression against the UK’s vital interests including her NATO allies. CASD is the UK’s most enduring current operation and has been successfully delivered for over 40 years.

As announced by my predecessor, my right hon. Friend Dr Fox, on 18 May 2011, Hansard, column 351, we have approved initial gate investment in respect of the replacement programme and selected a submarine design.

As my predecessor also announced on 18 May 2011, a study is being conducted to examine alternative systems and postures in accordance with the provision in the coalition agreement.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Submarine Dismantling Project, 27 October 2011

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence will tomorrow— 28 October 2011—start a period of public consultation on the options for dismantling nuclear-powered submarines that have left service with the Royal Navy, including those that are in afloat storage at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards.

Submarines in afloat storage are maintained safely, in a similar way to operational submarines. As they age, however, and as further submarines leave service, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining them is rising significantly, and space to store them is running out.

This consultation will seek the public’s views on the proposals that have been developed by the MOD’s Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) for dismantling and disposing of the submarines in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible way. It will seek views on the three key decisions that need to be made about submarine dismantling:

How the radioactive material is removed from the submarines;

Where we carry out the removal of the radioactive material from the submarines; and

Which type of site is used to store the radioactive waste that is awaiting disposal.

The consultation will run for 16 weeks, from 28 October 2011 until 17 February 2012. This period has been extended from the 12-week minimum to account for the Christmas holidays and in recognition of the interest in the project.

A series of events, including exhibitions and workshops, will be held in and around the Devonport and Rosyth areas, where the candidate sites for the removal of the radioactive waste from the submarines are located. National workshops will also be held in accessible locations in England and Scotland.

Consultation events will be advertised in the local press and on the project website, http://www.mod.uk/submarinedismantling, where all relevant documentation, including extensive supporting information, will also be published. All the responses received during the consultation process will be considered by the MOD during its further analysis of the options before final decisions are made around 2013. Only then will planning applications for activities on specific sites be made.

Details of the MOD’s proposals and of the plans for public consultation are included in the SDP consultation document, copies of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

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.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
Personnel from Rosyth Dockyard are reported to have first found contamination in June 1990 while carrying out ongoing environmental monitoring associated with nuclear submarine operations at Rosyth.

The most recent survey work undertaken by Ministry of Defence (MOD) contractors was on 12 September 2011 when over 30 items, sometimes referred to as radioactive particles or artefacts, were recovered. It is understood that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has recovered additional radioactive items. Previous to the September survey, the MOD has undertaken six monitoring surveys and three intrusive investigations of the foreshore area which recovered a total of 128 radioactive items. The results of these surveys along with locations at which buried radium fragments have been encountered are published in the (Entec) Completion Report, dated 19 October available on the following website:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/MicroSite/DIO/OurPublications/TechnicalDocuments/MTP/DalgetyBay.htm

Recorded finds prior to MOD’s support to SEPA via the Dalgety Bay Forum are detailed in previous Health Protection Agency and SEPA reports. SEPA’s reports are available on their website at:

http://www.sepa.org.uk/radioactive_substances/publications/dalgety_bay_reports.aspx

These documents will be placed in the Library of the House.

In addition to the surveys details above, the MOD has also undertaken investigation, survey and recovery works in relation to properties on the land and these have been satisfactory resolved.

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.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) requires the MOD police to maintain a range of specialist policing capabilities in order to ensure the secure and uninterrupted operation of the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent.

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.

Written ministerial statement, Defence: Nuclear Liabilities Management Strategy, 15 September 2011

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has today published the first issue of the MOD nuclear liabilities management strategy. A copy of the strategy has been placed in the Library of the House.

The MOD’s nuclear liabilities have arisen from building and operating nuclear submarines, and from the manufacture and management of nuclear weapons. They include nuclear materials that are no longer required for defence purposes; the irradiated fuel that has fulfilled its purpose; the sites, facilities, and submarines that support the defence nuclear programme; and, the resultant radioactive wastes.

Although the MOD’s liabilities are substantial they are significantly smaller than the civil nuclear liabilities: the MOD’s radioactive wastes account for less than 1.5% by volume of the UK total. We have, therefore, worked with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and the Scottish Government to develop a strategy that will deliver the best value for money solutions for the UK.

Managing our nuclear liabilities is a long-term challenge, and the strategy will evolve over time, as specific solutions are developed for dealing with particular liabilities. As a consequence, it is our intention to publish a revised strategy every five years, to reflect the progress being made and to ensure it remains up to date. The strategy being published today sets out the high-level approaches for managing our nuclear liabilities: it provides a common management, decommissioning and disposal framework to ensure a coherent approach across the defence nuclear programme.

The safe and secure management of the MOD’s current and future nuclear liabilities is of paramount importance, and underpins all aspects of the strategy. Its publication reflects the MOD’s commitment to being a responsible nuclear operator and to delivering safe and effective solutions for dealing with those liabilities.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 06 September 2011

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest estimate is of the cost of replacing Trident.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
As was explained in the Parliamentary Report “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate” published in May 2011, we assess that the cost of replacing Trident is within the 2006 White Paper estimate of £15 billion to £20 billion at 2006-07 prices.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 05 September 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate how much of the contract for the Common Missile Compartment design was spent in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; and how many jobs have resulted from the contract in (i) England, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Wales and (iv) Northern Ireland.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The United Kingdom participates in a cost sharing agreement with the United States for the design and development of the Common Missile Compartment. In 2008, the US Department of Defense, who are managing this work area, awarded a contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat for the design and development work.

I understand the company has sub-contracted work to a number of firms based in the United Kingdom but we do not hold the information requested. It is not Government policy to compile statistics related to defence spend on equipment or employment by UK regions.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Missiles, 19 July 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 29 June 2011, Official Report, column 50WS, on nuclear deterrent, whether any multilateral verification provisions have been put in place in relation to the warhead reduction programme on Vanguard class submarines.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
No. However, as a responsible nuclear weapon state party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the UK continues to pursue multilateral progress towards mutual, balanced, and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons worldwide.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Missiles, 18 July 2011

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 June 2011, Official Report, column 675W, on Trident, whether he has made an assessment of whether, if the funding allocated for the replacement of Trident were invested in other capabilities in the defence and security economy, including (a) intelligence services, (b) special forces, (c) the police and (d) other capabilities, a commensurate level of deterrence could be achieved.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Our current analysis is that we cannot rule out the risk either that a major direct nuclear threat to the UK’s vital interests will re-emerge or that new states will emerge that possess a more limited nuclear capability but nevertheless one that could pose a grave threat to our vital interests. We therefore see an enduring role for the UK’s nuclear forces as an essential part of our capability for deterring nuclear-armed opponents. As stated in the 2006 White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994) conventional capabilities cannot have the same deterrent effect as nuclear weapons.

This remains Government policy.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Disarmament, 11 July 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what matters were agreed at the meeting of the permanent members of the UN Security Council on nuclear disarmament held in Paris between 29 June and 1 July 2011; and if he will place in the Library copies of papers circulated by attending parties.

David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
I have been asked to reply.

The P5 Conference in Paris was a significant demonstration by the five nuclear weapon states of their determination to make progress against their commitments agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference Action Plan in May 2010. A public statement announcing the outcomes of the Conference was issued immediately afterwards and is available on the FCO website:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=627529382

In order to facilitate frank discussions on sensitive issues, participants had agreed in advance that the detail of the discussions and papers circulated at the meeting would remain confidential. The meeting successfully contributed to building mutual trust between the P5; reaching agreement on further work on new confidence-building disarmament initiatives, including the establishment of a working group to enhance understanding of P5 nuclear terminology, and a confidential UK-hosted expert-level meeting later this year to share lessons from work that the UK has led on verification of nuclear warhead dismantlement.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Military Aircraft, 11 July 2011

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what near miss incidents involving RAF aircraft and UK nuclear installations have been reported to his Department in each year since May 2004; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report on each such incident.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
Since May 2004 there have been two incidents of RAF aircraft entering the restricted airspace imposed around nuclear installations, these are shown in the following table. These incidents were investigated and neither were assessed to present a risk to the installation. I will place copies of the reports into each of these incidents, with appropriate redactions, in the Library of the House.

Date – Nuclear installation – Closest approach
8 October 2004 – Sellafield Nuclear Power Station – 1.5 nautical miles (lateral)
12 August 2008 – Harwell Nuclear Facility – 1 nautical mile (lateral)

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 11 July 2011

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2011, Official Report, column 675W, on Trident, whether he has assessed options for an alternative to the replacement of Trident that would provide an equivalent level of deterrence.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
The 2006 White Paper ‘The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’ (Cm 6994) set out the results of a fundamental analysis of options for any successor deterrent system. This work concluded that a minimum nuclear deterrent based on a new generation of ballistic missile-carrying submarines operating a continuous at sea deterrence posture was right for the UK. As set out in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (Cm 7948), and as the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend Dr Fox, reiterated in his statement to the House on 18 May 2011, Hansard, columns 351-353, this remains Government policy.

As the Secretary of State for Defence explained in his answer of 28 June 2011, the study to assist the Liberal Democrats in making the case for alternatives will review the costs, feasibility and credibility of alternative platforms, alternative delivery systems and alternative postures.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Defence, 6 July 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the UK’s current standing commitments are; what capabilities are deployed in order to meet these commitments in each case; and for what reasons each such commitment is essential to UK security or British interest.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
holding answer 4 July 2011

The Ministry of Defence has several standing commitments. These include strategic intelligence, the strategic nuclear deterrent, defence against direct threats to the UK and its overseas territories, counter-terrorism and military aid to the civil authorities. These roles are essential to the UK’s safety and security and support key British interests around the world.

A range of specialist capabilities are deployed in order to meet these commitments. I am withholding the detail of what these capabilities are and the reasons for the commitment, as their disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 6 July 2011

Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the potential savings to the public purse arising from a reduction in the number of operational warheads on the Vanguard class submarines to no more than 120.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
We are reducing the number of operational warheads to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining only the minimum nuclear deterrent necessary. The resulting financial saving was not a factor in this decision, however we do expect to save some tens of millions of pounds over the next 10 years. This contributes to the overall £1.2 billion of savings on the deterrent programme identified in the strategic defence and security review.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Christmas Island, 4 July 2011

Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research his Department has evaluated on the effect on those present of the nuclear tests on Christmas Island.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
We closely monitor and evaluate any research undertaken world wide relating to nuclear test veterans.

In response to potential health concerns raised by former service personnel in the UK, the Ministry of Defence commissioned the National Radiological Protection Board to study mortality and cancer incidence in nuclear test participants and compare it with service personnel who did not deploy, and the general population.

The last of three studies, completed in 2003, concluded that overall levels of mortality and cancer incidence in nuclear test veterans have continued to be similar to those in a matched control group. Overall, mortality rates are lower than expected compared to the national average.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 4 July 2011

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the number of warheads deployed on each Vanguard class submarine will be reduced to no more than 40; when the stockpile of operationally available warheads will be reduced to no more than 120; and when warheads which have been removed from the operation stockpile will be dismantled.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
I will write to the hon. Member.

Substantive answer from Liam Fox to Caroline Lucas:

I undertook to write to you in response to your Parliamentary Question on 20 December 2010 (Official Report, column 992W) about the timescales for the reduction in the number of operationally available warheads and their eventual dismantlement.

I apologise for the delay in responding but it was necessary to undertake some work to implement the first stage of this process before I was in a position to respond to your question. In addition, can I draw your attention to the Statement I made on 29 June 2011 (Official Report, column 51 WS).

The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) announced a reduction in the scale of the UK nuclear deterrent. The programme to implement the reductions in the number of deployed warheads has now commenced on our fleet of VANGUARD class ballistic missile submarines. On current estimates, the reduction in operationally available warheads will be completed within this Parliament. Our expectation is that the programme for dismantling warheads removed from the operational stockpile will be completed within the timeframe set by the SDSR of the mid 2020s.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 4 July 2011

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what alternatives his Department has considered to the nuclear deterrent.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Prior to the publication of the 2006 White Paper, The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994), Ministry of Defence officials undertook a full review of the widest possible range of options to replace the UK’s nuclear deterrent capability. A detailed assessment process to narrow the range of options under consideration to the four generic options reported in the White Paper was then used.

The parliamentary debate on 14 March 2007, Hansard, columns 298-407, subsequently endorsed the conclusions made in the White Paper that the most cost-effective deterrent system was a further class of submarines carrying ballistic missiles.

To support the agreement made in the Coalition programme for government, that the Lib Dems will continue to make the case for alternatives, work is under way in the Cabinet Office to explore the costs, feasibility and credibility of alternative systems. This work will report to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in approximately 18 months time.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Deterrent, 29 June 2011

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
As part of his statement on the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) on 19 October 2010, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that we had reviewed our deterrence requirements and concluded that we could meet the requirement for an effective and credible deterrent with a smaller number of nuclear weapons and over the next few years would reduce the scale of the current deployed capability, incorporating this reduction into plans for the successor submarine. Therefore, we would reduce the number of warheads on board each submarine from a maximum of 48 to a maximum of 40, reduce the number of operational missiles in the VANGUARD class submarines to no more than eight, and reduce the number of operational warheads from fewer than 160 to no more than 120.

I wish to inform the House that the programme for implementing the SDSR warhead reductions has commenced: at least one of the VANGUARD class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) now carries a maximum of 40 nuclear warheads. The programme of work to complete these changes across the VANGUARD SSBN fleet will be completed within the constraints of the deterrent’s operational programme. We currently expect completion to be made within this Parliament. The Government do not comment upon the operational programme and therefore updates on this implementation programme will not be given. I will update the House further once the changes have been completed across the current SSBN fleet and the SDSR commitment to reducing our stock of operationally deployed warheads has been fulfilled. On current plans, our expectation is that the subsequent reduction in our total stockpile to no more than 180 warheads will be completed by the mid 2020s.

The early commencement of the programme for these reductions in warheads is a significant step 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.

Written answers and statements, Defence: WE 177 Nuclear Bomb, 28 June 2011

Tessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to the public purse of the WE.177 missile programme was (a) in cash terms and (b) in 2011 prices up to the date of its withdrawal from service; and what the cost of procurement of each missile was.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I will write to the hon. Member, as the information requested may take some time to retrieve from archive.

Substantive answer from Peter Luff to Tessa Munt:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 17 March 2011 (Official Report, column 516W) about the cost details of the WE177 nuclear weapon programme. I apologise for the delay in writing to you; this has been due to the need for The National Archives (TNA) to review their file holdings.

The WE177 free-fall bombs were in service with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy for over 30 years, and were finally retired in 1998. Due to the length of time that this weapon has been out of service, many files have been placed in TNA, although a considerable number are retained within the Ministry of Defence’s own archives, as well as those of the Atomic Weapons Establishment. It would be necessary to retrieve and examine all of these files to identify whether they hold relevant information. If the information was located – which is by no means certain – we would then need to extract and collate the information and update historic costs going back over 30 years to a 2011 price base to answer your question. This would require significant effort and could therefore only be done at disproportionate cost.

I know that this response will be disappointing to you but I do hope that you will appreciate why I feel that it would be inappropriate to ask for such a significant amount of work to be undertaken in the circumstances described.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 28 June 2011

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the study to review the costs, feasibility and credibility of alternative systems and postures to the Trident missile delivery system will include the use of deterrents such as the intelligence services, Special Forces, or other capabilities available in the defence and security economy.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
holding answer 22 June 2011

No. The purpose of the study is to examine alternative forms of nuclear deterrence, including alternative delivery systems and platforms, and to analyse their potential risks, benefits, and feasibility.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 27 June 2011

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the UK nuclear deterrent on the level of nuclear proliferation; and what steps he is taking to discourage and reduce nuclear proliferation.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
There is no evidence to suggest that the UK nuclear deterrent has any bearing on the pursuit of nuclear weapons by those who currently seek to develop them. The UK maintains a minimum credible deterrent and is committed to working towards the long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

The nuclear non-proliferation treaty remains the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime, and the primary basis for our efforts to tackle proliferation. We support multilateral efforts to reduce the threat of proliferation such as through the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, by promoting high standards for sensitive transfers of materials and technology and engaging with key partners on a bilateral basis. We remain determined to work with the international community to control proliferation, to build trust and confidence between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states, and to take tangible steps towards a safer and more stable world where countries with nuclear weapons ultimately feel able to relinquish them. We strongly believe that sustainable global disarmament can be achieved only through a multilateral process.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 22 June 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 28 February, Official Report, column 82, on nuclear weapons, whether any part of the £59 million spent on United States high steam generators and technology contributed to the design of the PWR3 Trident reactor.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
Of the £59 million, £25 million has contributed solely to the PWR3 reactor concept design work. The remaining £34 million was spent on work and technology in support of the wider next generation propulsion plant concept phase assessment and design work.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 20 June 2011

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what the cost to the public purse will be of designing the US-UK Common Missile Compartment for the Trident replacement submarine in the period from 2011 to 2016;

(2) what proportion of the cost of the design of the US-UK Common Missile Compartment will be met by the public purse; and if he will make a statement;

(3) when he expects a decision to be made on the construction location of the US-UK Common Missile Compartment for the Trident replacement submarine; and if he will make a statement.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
The cost to the UK Government of US-UK Common Missile Compartment activities over financial years 2011-12 to 2015-16 is estimated at £103 million. The UK has agreed to pay 12.5% of all non-recurring expenditure on design activities.

A decision on where the UK’s Common Missile Compartment will be built is planned to be made during 2012. That decision could be made, however, anytime up until the first quarter of 2014 without any adverse impact on the overall successor programme.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 24 May 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the research, development and production of PWR3 for the four Vanguard replacement submarines;

(2) how much of the expenditure on developing and building the PWR3 reactor he expects to be incurred with suppliers in the United States;

(3) how much has been spent by his Department on research and development of the PRW2b reactor.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
holding answer 23 May 2011

The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend Dr Fox, announced to the House on 18 May 2011, Hansard, columns 351-363, the approval of the “Initial Gate” investment decision for the programme to replace the Vanguard submarines and the selection of a broad design option that included PWR3 to be taken forward into full design. A decision on the number of submarines will not be taken until main gate in 2016.

As detailed in ‘The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report’, the Ministry of Defence has spent around £900 million on the submarine concept phase, which included an analysis of the different reactor options. Additional research and development of PWR3 will take place as part of the assessment phase. Overall, this phase is expected to total some £3 billion. No further research or development of PWR2b will take place.

I am withholding more detailed costs of the submarine components as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Although further work needs to be done between now and main gate to refine our estimates, we expect the cost of the overall successor deterrent system to remain within the White Paper cost envelope of £15 billion to £20 billion at 2006-07 prices, of which £11 billion to £14 billion would be attributed to the cost of the replacement platform system.

A full copy of ‘The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report’ can be found at the following website:

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7F9F5815-C67B-47B1-B5C4-168E8AB50DC3/O/submarine_initial_gate.pdf

Copies have been placed in the Vote Office and Library of the House.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 24 May 2011

Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s latest estimate is of the cost for the Trident submarine replacement programme’s concept phase and assessment phase in (a) constant 2006 prices and (b) project outturn prices accounting for inflation.

Graeme Morrice (Livingston, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s most recent estimate is of the cost of the Trident submarine replacement programme’s concept phase and assessment phase in (a) constant 2006 prices and (b) project outturn prices accounting for inflation.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The latest estimate of the cost of the Trident submarine replacement programme concept and assessment phases is as follows:

Phase // 2006 constant prices // Outturn prices
Concept // £850 million // £900 million
Assessment // £2.3 billion // £3.0 billion

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines: Safety, 23 May 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safety performance in relation to accidents involving a loss of coolant of the proposed reactors for future Trident submariners.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 May 2011, Hansard, columns 1090-91W.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 23 May 2011

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on (a) nuclear proliferation and (b) the militarisation of space.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The UK is committed to non-proliferation under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the cornerstone of the international security architecture. We continue to call on all states that have not yet done so to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.

The UK supports the principle of free access to and use of outer space in accordance with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the review of alternatives to the nuclear deterrent to be completed.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The review is expected to take around 18 months to complete.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the National Security Council will have a formal role in the review of alternatives to the nuclear deterrent.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (Cm7948), the National Security Council approved the Trident value for money study and decided to proceed with the renewal of Trident and the submarine replacement programme. The aim of the review is to fulfil the coalition programme for Government by assisting the Liberal Democrats to make the case for alternatives: the National Security Council will not have a formal role in the review.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to whom the review of alternatives to the nuclear deterrent will report.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
I will oversee the study and it will report jointly to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much of the cost of the review of alternatives to the nuclear deterrent will be met by (a) the Cabinet Office and (b) his Department.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
Costs will be met from within existing departmental budgets. It is too early to predict how much will fall to the Cabinet Office and how much to the Ministry of Defence.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of staff he plans to allocate to his review of alternatives to the nuclear deterrent; and what budget he plans to allocate to the review.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The study will be led by a senior civil servant and a dedicated project manager in the Cabinet Office. They will draw together inputs from a range of experts in the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence and other Departments. Costs will be met from within existing departmental budgets.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Power Stations: Security, 17 May 2011

David Simpson (Upper Bann, DUP)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of capability of terrorist organisations to mount an attack on a UK nuclear power plant; and what arrangements are in place to prevent such an attack.

Charles Hendry (Minister of State (Renewable Energy), Energy and Climate Change; Wealden, Conservative)
I have been asked to reply.

The level of threat posed from a terrorist attack to UK civil nuclear sites is taken very seriously and is regularly assessed by relevant Government organisations, including the industry’s security regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

While it is not Government policy to comment on the detail of operational security matters at individual civil nuclear sites, security arrangements are kept under constant review as part of a continuous process to ensure that existing arrangements are robust and effective.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 17 May 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has made to his French counterpart on the future joint development of ship submersible ballistic nuclear fleets.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
We have, with our French colleagues, identified a number of potential areas for cooperation around submarine enterprise management and some specific equipments and technologies. Detailed proposals will be put to national authorities for consideration and agreement, taking account of extant international agreements and obligations.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 13 May 2011
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals have been made by his Department to its French counterparts on the future joint operation of ship submersible ballistic nuclear fleets.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
None.

Written answers and statements, Defence, France: Military Alliances, 11 May 2011

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) practicability, (b) desirability, (c) cost-effectiveness and (d) effect on Anglo-American military relations of the creation of a joint Anglo-French nuclear deterrent.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
holding answer 5 May 2011

The UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is the ultimate guarantee of our national security. We do not think that a joint UK-France nuclear deterrent would be feasible or desirable and it has not been considered.

We continue to enjoy excellent co-operation with the US and France on nuclear issues, including, in the case of France, under the treaty signed on 2 November 2010. I discussed these and other issues with my French counterpart on 9 May.

Written answers and statements, Defence, Trident, 11 May 2011

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what reports he has received on the role of (a) the British American Security Information Council, (b) the Ploughshares Fund and (c) the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in promoting opposition to the continuation of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what assessment he has made of the aims of (a) the British American Security Information Council, (b) the Ploughshares Fund and (c) the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the sponsoring of a Trident Commission; and what influence he expects the conclusions of that commission to have on Government policy.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
holding answer 5 May 2011

The Trident Commission, established by the British American Security Information Council, is only the most recent of a number of NGO-sponsored studies into this important issue. As with the others, the Government will look at its findings when they are published

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) consequences of and (b) risks entailed by any move away from the policy of continuous at-sea nuclear deterrence; and if he will make a statement.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
holding answer 5 May 2011

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Prime Minister on 19 October 2010, Hansard, column 801, and to my own, more recent remarks on 14 March 2011, Hansard, column 9.

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government’s policy is on the (a) retention and (b) full replacement of the Trident independent nuclear deterrent.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
holding answer 5 May 2011

The Government have made clear in both the coalition agreement and the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) that they are committed to maintaining and renewing the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent. The SDSR made it clear that this is intended to be through the continuity of a submarine-based ballistic missile system. As set out in the coalition agreement the Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives.

Written answers and statements, Defence, Nuclear Submarines, 10 May 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) when research and development work for the PWR2b type reactor was initiated;

(2) what studies have been carried out into the use of the PWR2b type reactor for later submarines in the Astute class; and when such studies were initiated;

(3) on what date the safety of UK nuclear submarines was first benchmarked against (a) relevant civil nuclear practice and (b) US Navy practice;

(4) what assessment the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator has made of the capability of a PWR2b plant for the Trident replacement submarines to deliver emergency core cooling through direct head injection in dealing with a loss of coolant accident;

(5) what assessment the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator has made of the capacity of a PWR2b plant to demonstrate relevant good practice in responding to a loss of coolant accident;

(6) whether the ability of the PWR2b and PWR3 plants to deal with a loss of coolant accident has yet been reviewed sufficiently to satisfy a decision for the initial gate business case;

(7) whether a formal presentation of (a) the safety analysis and arguments for a PWR2b plant and (b) the associated cost and schedule risk have yet been made to the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator;

(8) if he will publish the analysis of the (a) PWR2b and (b) PWR3 design concepts for the Trident replacement submarines as part of the initial gate business case;

(9) what assessment he has made in the reduction of risk with regard to (a) control of submarine depth and (b) a loss of coolant accident from a (i) PWR2b and (ii) PWR3 propulsion system for the Trident replacement submarine.

Nick Harvey (North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
holding answer 9 May 2011

The Ministry of Defence has maintained a continuous research and technology development programme that delivers improvements to safety, as well as other aspects of reactor plant performance, for nuclear submarines that are currently being operated or built for the Royal Navy, as well as enabling the design of future nuclear reactor plants.

Regular detailed scrutiny of submarine reactor plant safety is conducted by expert personnel from within the Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator and the Health and Safety Executive’s Office of Nuclear Regulation and by independent nuclear safety assessors to ensure safety is benchmarked against national and internationally accepted standards.

For reasons of security, I do not intend to go into further detail about specific aspects of nuclear submarine reactor plant design, or what specific assessments have, or will be undertaken for future reactor plant designs. However, all such considerations are subject to a rigorous assessment against principles that are consistent with those applied across all UK nuclear reactor programmes, of which safety is a paramount consideration. These principles are embodied within the Health and Safety Executive’s Safety Assessment Principles, which were adopted by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator during 2007-08.

Written answers and statements, Defence, Departmental Public Bodies, 10 May 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how much funding his Department provided to the Nuclear Research Advisory Council in the last 12 months; and under what budget headings such funding was spent;

(2) what plans his Department has for future funding of the Nuclear Research Advisory Council;

(3) what the (a) purpose and (b) function is of the Nuclear Research Advisory Council;

(4) when the Nuclear Research Advisory Council was established;

(5) how many staff of his Department are employed by the Nuclear Research Advisory Council; and how many such staff are on (a) temporary and (b) permanent contracts.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
The Nuclear Research Advisory Council (NRAC) is an advisory non-departmental public body and, as such, does not incur expenditure on its own account. Expenditure on fees and reimbursement of travel and subsistence for the financial year 2010-11 have not yet been finalised but is estimated to be some £49,000.

As an advisory non-departmental public body, the NRAC does not incur expenditure on its own account. Future expenditure will be incurred against any agreed programme of specific scientific advice.

The NRAC’s purpose and function is to advise Chief Scientific Advisor on the technical direction and adequacy of the UK’s nuclear warhead research and capability maintenance programme, including experiments and other facilities and techniques necessary to design, manufacture, sustain and operate a UK nuclear weapon capability in the absence of underground testing. The Council also examines the UK’s programme of international collaboration.

The NRAC was established in 1996.

The NRAC does not employ staff on its own account. The Ministry of Defence provides the support functions for the body.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how many staff of his Department are assigned to the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee; and how many such staff are on (a) temporary and (b) permanent contracts;

(2) what the (a) purpose and (b) functions are of the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee;

(3) on what date the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee was established;

(4) what plans his Department has for future expenditure on the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee;

(5) what his Department’s budget for the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee was in the most recent year for which figures are available; and how much was spent on the Committee under each cost category in that period.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
The Defence Nuclear Safety Committee (DNSC) is an advisory non-departmental public body and, as such, it does not employ staff on its own account. The Ministry of Defence provides the support functions for the body.

The DNSC does not incur expenditure on its own account. Expenditure on fees and reimbursement of travel and subsistence for the financial year 2010-11 is estimated to be some £65,000. Future expenditure will be incurred against any agreed programme of specific advice.

The DNSC’s purpose and functions are to advise the Secretary of State for Defence on all safety matters pertaining to the naval nuclear propulsion plant and nuclear weapon systems, including related issues of design, development, manufacture, storage, in service support, handling, transport, operational training, support facilities and capabilities, the safety of workers and the public.

The DNSC was established in 1999.

Written answers and statements, Defence, Nuclear Submarines, 9 May 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine reactor programme will be included in the scope of the review to be conducted by HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations into lessons for the UK nuclear industry following the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The scope of the review is focused primarily on the civil nuclear sector. However, the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator is working with HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations on his report to assess whether there are any implications for the UK’s nuclear submarine programme.

Written answers and statements, Defence, Nuclear Weapons: International Co-operation, 27 April 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in continental European national governments on co-operation in nuclear policy; and if he will make a statement.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The UK operates an independent nuclear deterrent and the policy underpinning this remains sovereign to the UK. Engagement with our counterparts in continental Europe on co-operation on nuclear policy is therefore mainly via discussions within NATO who are currently undertaking a defence and deterrence posture review tasked by the Lisbon summit in November 2010. It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments and I am therefore withholding further details as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice relations between the UK and other states.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 26 April 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) whether the Trident replacement Initial Gate report will include details of the (a) cost and (b) technical matters considered for each of the four successor design options during the concept phase;
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost differential between each of the four design options considered during the concept phase of the Trident replacement programme.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The initial gate parliamentary report will outline the work that has taken place since the parliamentary vote of March 2007 and an overview of the analysis of the options investigated during the concept phase. We will provide a description and revised cost estimate of the selected design in the initial gate parliamentary report, but not for those designs that have been rejected.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the projected budget is for design and technology development during the Trident replacement programme assessment phase.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I am withholding details of the projected budget as to release the figures would prejudice commercial interests.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 26 April 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has considered purchasing reactors for any Trident replacement submarines from the US; and if he will make a statement.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The 2006 White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent set out our intention to build the replacement Vanguard submarines in the UK, for reasons of national sovereignty, nuclear safety regulation, operational effectiveness and maintenance of key UK scientific and industrial skills. This includes the reactors

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 5 April 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) whether reactors on Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarines in service have (a) systems for safety injection of coolant into the reactor pressure vessel head and (b) passive core cooling systems;

(2) what advice he has received from the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator on the need for (a) systems for safety injection of coolant into the reactor pressure vessel head and (b) passive core cooling systems on submarine reactors in order to reduce risks to the level of as low as reasonably practicable;

(3) if he will place in the Library an unredacted copy of the note of 6 November 2009 entitled Safety Regulators’ advice on the selection of the propulsion plant in support of the future deterrent review;

(4) what reasons the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator gave for his assessment on the adequacy of benchmarked relevant good practices of UK submarine reactor designs in respect of (a) the control of submarine depth and (b) a loss of coolant accident.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the assessment of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator on (a) loss of depth control and (b) loss of coolant accidents on Vanguard-class submarines.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
All submarines in service with the Royal Navy have passive core cooling capability and the ability to add coolant into the reactor pressure vessel if necessary.

The Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR)’s assessment and advice was given in the document ‘Safety Regulators’ advice on the selection of the propulsion plant in support of the future deterrent review’.

Some information within this document has been withheld because its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces; prejudice relations between the UK and another state and prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. For these reasons I do not intend to release an un-redacted copy. A redacted copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

The standards set for the safety of nuclear reactors are extremely high, and DNSR’s assessment is that they are met by all the reactors used by the Royal Navy. Nevertheless, we are always seeking to better our safety performance, and improvements are made where necessary and practicable.

Written answers and statements, Defence: HMS Tireless: HMS Turbulent, 30 March 2011

Alison Seabeck (Plymouth, Moor View, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to make any part of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator’s report into the incidents on HMS Tireless and HMS Turbulent publicly available.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I will place a copy of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator’s investigation into ‘Babcock Event No 19720: Failure To Reinstate Primary Safety Systems’ in the Library of the House before the end of May 2011, following a review to ascertain whether any sensitive information is required to be withheld.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 30 March 2011

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the increase in the cost of the Trident replacement programme as a result of delays introduced by project extensions.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, my hon. Friend Peter Luff, on 14 March 2011, Hansard, column 7, to Julie Hilling.

Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date payment is due for items already commissioned for Trident replacement; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of items commissioned for which payment has not yet been made.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I have interpreted this question as relating to long lead items for the replacement Vanguard class submarine. There are no outstanding payments against commitments made for long lead items ahead of the initial gate decision.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Warships, 28 March 2011

Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what role Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels play in supporting the strategic nuclear deterrent;

(2) what role anti-submarine frigates play in supporting the strategic nuclear deterrent;

(3) how many days a year he expects Type 23 frigates to be tasked with duties in support of the nuclear deterrent previously undertaken by maritime patrol aircraft.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
Mine counter measures vessels conduct regular mine warfare surveys in support of the strategic nuclear deterrent.

Type 23 Frigates provide the towed array patrol ship for reactive anti-submarine patrol duties in support of the strategic nuclear deterrent.

A ship is maintained at high readiness for this task 365 days a year. This has been unchanged by the maritime patrol aircraft decision.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 23 March 2011

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the logistics plan for implementing the reduction in nuclear weapons numbers announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to be completed; when it is intended to commence the return of warheads to the Atomic Weapons Establishment for decommissioning; and when the reduction in stockpile size will be complete.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
I will write to the hon. Member.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 22 March 2011

Matthew Offord (Hendon, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been introduced to ensure that the decision on Trident taken at initial gate will ensure the cost effectiveness of the process of renewing the independent nuclear deterrent.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
Following the value for money study, we took a number of decisions during the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) to ensure that the successor deterrent programme will be delivered effectively. These included deferring the in-service date of the submarine to 2028, reducing the number of operational missiles and warheads and improving the way we work with industry under the submarine enterprise performance programme.

We have also previously announced that we will work with the US to deliver a common missile compartment for the successor submarine, which will reduce costs through the sharing of development costs.

The decision taken during the SDSR allowed us to save and defer £3.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 21 March 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) reason for and (b) scope is of his Department’s collaboration in studies for the development of the US Administration’s W88 nuclear warhead.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
Co-operation on a broad range of nuclear issues of mutual interest to the United Kingdom and the United States take place routinely under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. This includes collaboration with the US on its plans for the refurbishment or replacement of non-nuclear components within their W88 nuclear warhead which could have implications for the UK’s consideration of its future warhead options.

As confirmed in the recent Trident Value for Money review, surveys have shown that our current warheads can be supported until the late 2030s and no decision will be required on its potential replacement until the next Parliament.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Submarines, 18 March 2011

Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which occasions each Minister of State in his Department has been present to welcome returning submariners following a tour of duty of a Vanguard-class submarine in the last 15 years.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Centralised records have only been held since December 2004 and information prior to then could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, since December 2004, the following visits by Ministers of State have been undertaken to welcome returning Vanguard Class submarines from deterrent patrol:

November 2005 Minister for Defence Procurement (The Lord Drayson)
February 2006 Minister for the Armed Forces (The hon. Adam Ingram)
June 2007 Secretary of State for Defence (The right hon. Des Browne)
October 2009 Secretary of State for Defence (The right hon. Bob Ainsworth)
June 2010 Minister for the Armed Forces (The hon. Nick Harvey)
November 2010 Secretary of State for Defence (The right hon. Dr Liam Fox).

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident, 17 March 2011

Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent (a) in total and (b) on (i) design, (ii) purchase of materials and (iii) other categories of expenditure on Trident in each of the last three years.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I have interpreted this question as relating to the programme to replace the Vanguard class submarines.

Expenditure on this programme for the past three years is as follows:

£ million
FY 2008-09 / FY 2009-10 / FY 2010-11 (to end February) / Total
Design in support of Concept and Common Missile Compartment 121.1 / 264.4 / 188.4 / 573.9
Purchase of materials – / – / 6.0 / 6.0
Other categories of expenditure / 17.7 / 24.9 / 24.7 / 67.3
Total 647.2

The bulk of this expenditure has been on design and research activity including technical development programmes to inform the options presented in the initial gate business case. Work undertaken during the concept and assessment phases will provide a robust evidence base on which the Government can take decisions, and in the event of a main gate decision with a like-for-like alternative, the programme will be able to deliver on time and to budget.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Atomic Weapons Establishment, 17 March 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 805W, on nuclear weapons, what estimate he has made of the likely level of savings to the public purse in (a) submarine production, (b) the nuclear warhead, (c) supporting infrastructure and (d) efficiency savings at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in each of the next 10 years.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
I am withholding the information requested, as providing greater details of expected savings would prejudice commercial interests.

Written answers and statements, Defence: France: Nuclear Weapons, 17 March 2011

Tessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the proposed UK-France treaty on nuclear weapons co-operation, from what date military flights between the UK and France transporting nuclear materials are to commence; and what the proposed flight path of this transport route will be.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The proposed UK-France treaty on nuclear weapons co-operation provides for the transport of nuclear material between the two countries. No dates or flight paths have yet been agreed but details of such flights would be likely to be withheld for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning, 17 March 2011

Julian Huppert (Cambridge, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the projected (a) discounted and (b) undiscounted nuclear decommissioning costs for the seven Astute-class submarines.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) is developing a cost model to inform its planning for the disposal of 27 of the UK’s nuclear submarines. The scope of the SDP covers past and current classes, excluding the Astute class, but the project’s cost modelling work is intended to inform the development of similar costs for the Astute class. Accordingly, it is not yet possible to provide estimated costs for the Astute class.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Military Aircraft, 8 March 2011

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) which types of Royal Air Force aircraft are authorised to carry special nuclear materials over UK territory; and which section in his Department is responsible for granting such authority;

(2) which types of Royal Air Force aircraft are authorised to carry special nuclear materials over US territory by the US administration; and from which department of the US administration he received such authority.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The following aircraft can carry special nuclear materials (SNM): CI7, VC10,Tristar and C130.

Individual aircraft do not require a specific authorisation to carry SNM, but, as with all requests for the use of air transport, aircraft are allocated according to the size and nature of the load and in response to a bid from the sponsor.

The Transport Operation Order details the itinerary, role, fit of the aircraft, load, handling requirements and specific arrangements for that task. As part of this process, diplomatic clearances are arranged in conjunction with those nations detailed in the itinerary, or being overflown. The internal clearance process for each nation to approve the flight itinerary is a matter for them.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Critical Capabilities Pool, 8 March 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) purpose and (b) remit of the Critical Capabilities Pool is.

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative)
I have been asked to reply.

The purpose of the Critical Capabilities Pool is to fund some of the key programmes and capabilities required to reduce proliferation-related risks to national security and to improve co-ordination of those resources across the Government’s counter-proliferation community. The Critical Capabilities Pool includes several programmatic elements and also contains resources for security-related science and technology work in the radiological and nuclear, and chemical and biological fields.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Strategic Defence and Security Review, 7 March 2011

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department has put in place to meet its commitment in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to (a) strengthen international commitments to non-proliferation treaties and (b) refocus critical programmes for building security overseas.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Environment and Climate Change (DECC) and other Departments to deliver the commitments in the strategic defence and security review (SDSR).

The Government are committed to publishing a building stability overseas strategy by spring 2011. This strategy will look wider than just security and will examine how we can prioritise and use our defence, diplomatic and development tools to support inclusive politics, economic growth and stronger institutions as the base for building global stability and resilience.

The UK considers the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. We announced a number of significant disarmament measures in the SDSR, which demonstrated our commitment to the NPT. We are also working closely with both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states to make progress on the May 2010 Review Conference Action Plan, which covers all three NPT pillars (disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses).

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) is the key international instrument for biological disarmament. MOD’s overriding interest in the BTWC is to minimise the risks that biological weapons will be used by state and non-state actors against UK interests, including our deployed UK forces. We aim to do this by ensuring that the BTWC is being strengthened in a way that increases its deterrent, transparency, confidence building, and investigative value. The UK is working closely with the EU and allied partners towards the seventh review conference of the BTWC in December 2011, with the UK objective: of strengthening the convention.

The chemical weapons convention is a successful international instrument for chemical disarmament which has already seen the verifiable destruction of more than 63% of the world’s declared chemical weapons. MOD expertise and engagement underpins the leading role the UK takes with the EU and allies in the work to implement and strengthen the convention.

The Global Threat Reduction Programme (GTRP), the UK’s contribution to the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, remains a priority for the UK. It is a key element in the UK’s work to ensure that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and expertise are out of reach to terrorist groups or hostile states. As part of GTRP, the MOD’s biological non-proliferation programme continues to develop in scale and geographical range to support these aims. Projects have included activities such as, strengthening biosafety and biosecurity, promoting the use of biological agents for peaceful purposes, and contributing to implementation of the BTWC. DECC delivers the nuclear and radiological elements of the programme, while the MOD managed the now-complete programme of assistance to Russia with chemical weapons destruction.

The GTRP also provides assistance that enables countries to meet their international commitments including to United Nations Security Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), which requires the adoption and enforcement of controls to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring the ability to deliver a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 4 March 2011

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account he has taken of his assessment of the threat of State-on-State nuclear warfare in (a) implementing commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and (b) discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
In the October 2010 strategic defence and security review (SDSR) the Government assessed that while no state currently has both the intent and the capability to threaten the independence or integrity of the UK, we cannot dismiss the possibility that a major direct nuclear threat to the UK might re-emerge.

The Government are committed to fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We therefore continue to work closely with partners from across the international community to progress realistic and balanced action to strengthen each of the NPT’s three pillars (non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy). We will continue to work to create a safer and more stable world where all nations are able to relinquish their nuclear weapons.

The Minister for the Armed Forces, my hon. Friend Nick Harvey, has regular exchanges with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and other ministerial colleagues on a wide range of Defence security issues, including nuclear and NPT related issues.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 28 February
2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which (a) locations and (b) facilities the planned deferral of £1 billion from future spending on infrastructure for the Trident replacement programme announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review will be made.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The £1 billion deferral of expenditure on infrastructure, including the Command and Control elements in the nuclear firing chain, refers principally to previously expected spend on facilities at HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport. However, planning is not yet at the stage when more details could be provided.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department budgeted for the Trident replacement concept phase at its outset, including on submarine design, propulsion and the common missile compartment; and how much has been spent on that phase

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The 2006 White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent” (cmd 6994) gave a broad estimate of between £11 billion and £14 billion at 2006-07 prices for a four boat fleet.

The forecast cost and relevant approval dates of the elements of the concept phase are shown in the following table

Boat and Propulsion Concept work – Date: May 2007 / Value (£ million): 309
Common Missile Compartment – Date: October 2008 / Value (£ million): 283
United States High Steam Generators and technology – Date: April 2009 / Value (£ million): 59
Extension to Concept Phase – Date: November 2009 / Value (£ million): 254
Total Value (£ million): 905
(Figures in the table are given to the nearest million.)

Of this forecast total, £687 million had been spent to the end of January 2011.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review identified a total of £1.2 billion of savings and £2 billion of deferrals within the nuclear programme over the next 10 years. These savings are attributable to submarine production, the nuclear warhead, supporting infrastructure and improved efficiency at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how much his Department has allocated to spend on the Trident replacement programme in the assessment phase prior to main gate;

(2) what the projected cost to the public purse is of long-lead items for purchase ahead of the Trident replacement main gate decision.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The programme to replace the Vanguard class has still to enter the assessment phase. The initial gate business case for the assessment phase of the programme is currently being reviewed. It is not possible to confirm the value of long-lead items or assessment phase provision before the assessment phase programme has been approved. Moreover, we do not routinely publish figures for anticipated project expenditure, as to do so would prejudice commercial interests.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 17 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date it will be necessary to make long-lead purchases prior to the Trident replacement main gate decision.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
Contracts will be placed at the appropriate times throughout the assessment phase for those long-lead items that are included in initial gate to ensure we meet the in-service date of the Trident replacement.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 17 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of those contracts for long-lead items for the Trident replacement programme that were suspended in May 2010 pending the result of the value for money review.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The Ministry of Defence had no such contracts in place. An order worth approximately $3 million, placed on behalf of the United Kingdom between the United States Government and a United States supplier for materials related to propulsion, was deferred. Following the Value for Money review, which re-iterated our commitment to a replacement nuclear deterrent programme, the order was placed in November 2010.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 17 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of items for propulsion for the first three boats to be purchased ahead of the Trident replacement main gate decision.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

The programme to replace the Vanguard class of submarines has yet to enter the assessment phase. During this phase a number of long-lead items relating to propulsion will be ordered so as not to put at risk the in-service date of the Trident replacement. Final decisions on exactly what long-lead items will be required, and when, have yet to be taken.

The value of these long-lead items will be dependent on the work programme to be approved at initial gate. Moreover, we do not routinely publish figures for anticipated project expenditure as to do so would prejudice commercial interests.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Trident Missiles, 16 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) whether he had discussions with his US counterpart prior to the sharing of information with the Russian Federation on UK-designated Trident D5 missiles;
(2) whether he has made an assessment of the potential effects of the sharing of information between the US and Russia on UK-designated Trident D5 missiles on the operational status of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Officials from the Ministry of Defence have regular discussions with US authorities on a range of Defence issues. Where discussions relate to the D5 Trident missiles they take place mainly under the auspices of the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement (as amended for Trident).

The US holds a stockpile of Trident D5 missiles from which the UK has purchased title to a number but these are unspecified in the stockpile. There are therefore no UK-designated missiles.

Under the terms of the bilateral new strategic arms reduction treaty (New START) limited information is shared between the US and Russia. Procedures for transferring information have been in place since the 1991 START treaty and have been carried forward and updated for New START. Such information exchange between the US and Russia will have no detrimental effect on the operational status of the independent UK deterrent.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 16 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which work streams the £750 million of savings to the public purse arising from the Trident replacement programme identified in the Strategic Defence and Security Review will be made.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The Strategic Defence and Security Review identified a total of £1.2 billion of savings and £2 billion of deferrals over the next 10 years. These savings are attributable to submarine production, the nuclear warhead, supporting infrastructure and improved efficiency at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date he expects it will be necessary to reach a decision on the replacement or refurbishing of the UK nuclear warhead.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
As the Prime Minister informed the House on 19 October 2010, Official Report, columns 797-826, the strategic defence and security review announced the deferral of the decision to replace or refurbish the UK nuclear warhead until the next Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts his Department has agreed for work on the Trident replacement concept phase to 16 Feb 2011 : Column 806W date; and with which companies such contracts have been agreed.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), on 29 November 2010, Official Report, column 579W, to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert).

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has allocated to spend on the Trident replacement programme in each year between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Approximately £330 million was allocated to the programme to replace the Vanguard submarine for the financial year 2010-11. This includes expenditure on the Common Missile Compartment and on nuclear propulsion. The Initial Gate Business Case for the assessment phase of the programme to replace the Trident submarines is currently being reviewed.

However, we do not routinely publish figures for anticipated annual project expenditure, as to do so would prejudice commercial interests. Moreover, in line with standard procedures, the programme will be subject the normal Ministry of Defence annual planning round process.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to seek Parliamentary approval for long-lead orders prior to the Trident replacement main gate decision.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
I have no such plans. It is not normal practice to seek parliamentary approval for such matters. The Initial Gate approval is subject to the normal Ministry of Defence and Treasury process for category A programmes.

Written answers and statements, Defence: Nuclear Submarines, 16 February 2011

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what type of reactor his Department plans to order for the Trident replacement submarines.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
It is planned that the Vanguard replacement submarine will be powered by a pressurised water reactor, as was the case with previous classes. The precise configuration of the reactor is under consideration as part of the Initial Gate decision.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether steel for the substantial construction of the hull structure of the first boat of the Trident replacement programme will be made as a long-lead purchase prior to main gate.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
Yes. The specialist high strength steel needed for the hull structure for the first boat is included as a long-lead item in the Initial Gate Business Case for the programme. This is due to the length of time needed for the mill run, that means that the order must be placed prior to Main Gate in order not to put at risk the in-service date.

Written Answers – Defence: Trident Replacement Submarines, 14 Feb 2011

Tessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2011, Official Report, column 581, on Trident replacement submarines, what proportion of the costs of the (a) first, (b) second and (c) third new submarine will have been (i) spent and (ii) committed by 7 May 2015.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
The initial gate business case for the assessment phase of the programme to replace the Trident submarines is currently being reviewed. During this assessment phase we would expect to order certain parts for up to three boats to ensure they are ready for use once the main construction phase begins after main gate in 2016. However, until the assessment phase programme has been approved it is not possible to confirm the value of these parts.

Written Answers – Defence: Nuclear Weapons, 9 February 2011

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what assessment he has made of the conclusions of the 2008 and 2009 Assurance Reports from the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board on safety in the defence and nuclear programmes; and whether he plans to publish the 2010 report of the Board;
(2) whether hon. Members will be given access to the Defence Nuclear Environment and Safety Board’s 2010 Assurance Report.

Reply: Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)
The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) principal safety body, the Defence Environmental and Safety Board, has assessed both the 2008 and 2009 reports. It concluded that the Defence nuclear programmes are being conducted safely and an appropriate programme of work is in hand to deliver continuous safety improvement against the issues raised.

The 2010 report is currently being reviewed to identify whether any information needs to be withheld. It will then be published on the MOD website at the following address: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/MicroSite/DES/OurPublications/HealthandSafety/DefenceNuclearEnvironmentAndSafetyBoardAssuranceReports.htm

Oral Answers to Questions – Defence: Trident Replacement Submarines, 31 January 2011

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness, Labour)
May I say how pleased I was to accompany the Minister with responsibility for procurement, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Peter Luff, around Barrow shipyard a couple of weeks ago? The Defence Secretary knows that of the £3 billion of so-called savings in the Trident value-for-money review, more than half are deferments. Will he tell the House the increased cost of deferment, and why he thinks that approach is acceptable, given how often he spoke out against it when he was in opposition?

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)
There are two imperatives. The first is to ensure that we have the successor programme. The second is to ensure that we do it within the financial constraints that the Government are forced to take on board, given the economic position that we inherited. Through the value-for-money study, as the hon. Gentleman well knows, we looked to see how we could extend the life of the current programme, if possible, to minimise the expenditure in early years. That is helpful not only in reducing the deficit in the period set out by the Government, but in ensuring the success of the programme itself.

Oral Answers to Questions – Defence: Iran (Nuclear Weapons), 31 January 2011

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
Asked what sort of signal does it send to Iran and other hostile would-be proliferators that our nuclear deterrent could be put at ransom in the event of another hung Parliament, as a result of our not having signed the key contracts and the hostility towards the replacement of Trident evinced by the Liberal Democrats?

Reply by Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative

The Government remain committed, including in the coalition agreement, to the renewal of our nuclear deterrent. As I am sure my hon. Friend would expect, I will be campaigning to ensure that the next Parliament is not a hung Parliament, but one in which we have a minority- [ Interruption ]-a majority Conservative Government.

Written Answers, Trident, Vanguard Submarines, Defence, 27 January 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s estimate is of the cost of purchasing long-lead items required for the Vanguard submarine replacement programme assessment phase ahead of the Main Gate decision.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The programme to replace the Vanguard Class of submarines has yet to enter the assessment phase. During this phase a number of long lead items will be ordered so they will be available to use, as needed, after the main gate decision point planned for 2016. Not to do so would lengthen construction time and potentially impact the plan to deliver the first boat in around 2028. Final decisions on exactly what long lead items will be required and when, will not be taken until after initial gate.

The value of long lead items will be dependent on the work programme to be approved at initial gate.

Written Ansers, Trident, Vanguard Submarines, Defence 26 January 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what work his Department has commissioned on spatial arrangements covering boat compartments under the assessment phase of the Vanguard submarine replacement for Trident programme to date; and what the monetary value is of each contract for such research and design work;

(2) what enabling work has been contracted on (a) value engineering and (b) the management of design margins under the assessment phase of the Vanguard submarine replacement for Trident programme; what the monetary value is of each such contract; and how much has been spent under each such contract to date;

(3) what contracts have been placed to undertake research and development work on (a) combat system design and engineering and (b) primary and secondary propulsion design and engineering for the assessment phase of the replacement programme for Trident; and what the value is of each such contract;

(4) what contracts have been placed to undertake research and development work on (a) combat system design and engineering and (b) primary and secondary propulsion design and engineering in respect of the assessment phase for the Vanguard submarine replacement programme for Trident; and what the monetary value is of each such contract;

(5) which companies have been contracted to date (a) to deliver System Drawings and Equipment Technical Specifications and (b) to demonstrate system performance and compliance with system functional requirements under the assessment phase for the Vanguard submarine replacement for Trident programme; and what the monetary value is of his Department’s contract with each such company.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

No such contracts have been placed as the programme to replace the Vanguard Class submarine has yet to enter the assessment phase.

Written Anwers, Trident, Defence, 26 January 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what preparatory work for the assessment phase for the replacement programme for Trident has been commissioned on (a) the hull structure and structural fittings, including on castings and forgings and on steel and control surfaces, (b) primary and secondary propulsion systems and (c) electrical generation, conversion and distribution, including turbo generators, platform management system software, main switchboards, internal communications, diesel generators, main static converters, main DC distribution, distribution convertors, cathodic protection system, the degaussing system, computer information systems, main battery, and remote visual surveillance system; from which companies such work has been commissioned in each case; and what the value is of each such contract.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

Two of the purposes of the concept phase of the programme to replace the Vanguard submarines are to identify technology and procurement options for meeting the requirement, and to provide information to support initial gate decisions.

During the concept phase the Ministry of Defence has placed contracts with Rolls-Royce Power Engineering plc that include design and development work for the primary propulsion plant, with design verification and validation activities, to a value of some £220 million. A number of technical demonstrator contracts have also been placed with industry and other bodies to inform work on the options and recommendations made in the initial gate business case.

Some of this work will inform decisions on the purchase of the long lead items listed in the question, but further information is not held centrally and to attempt to reconcile the information against the list of long lead items given could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Written Answers, Atomic Weapons Establishment, Nuclear Weapons, Defence, 21 January 2011

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion of 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 503W, on nuclear weapons, which US establishments were visited by personnel from the Atomic Weapons Establishment in each of the last three years; and how many staff visited each such establishment.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

I will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Peter Luff to Paul Flynn:

In my answer to your Parliamentary Question on 13 December 2010, Hansard, column 458W, I undertook to write to you and provide details on the US establishments visited by personnel from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

This information has now been collated: the attached annex details the US establishments visited by AWE personnel in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. This table covers those visits made under the terms of the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, which was the basis for the Answer to Caroline Lucas on 17 June 2010, Hansard, column 503W.

Written Answers, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Defence, 18 January 2011

Simon Kirby (Brighton, Kemptown, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the nuclear weapons capability of (a) North Korea and (b) Iran.

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. We currently assess it has produced sufficient plutonium for a small number of nuclear weapons. We have also noted the recent disclosures in November 2010 of a uranium enrichment capability, which could also be used to support a nuclear weapon programme.

Iran is not currently assessed to have nuclear weapons. However it continues to pursue uranium enrichment and the construction of a heavy water research reactor, both of which have military potential, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. We share the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has not adequately explained evidence of possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

We continue to implement all UN Security Council resolutions relating to North Korea and Iran.

Written Answers, Trident, AWE Aldermaston, Defence, 11 January 2011

Andrew Smith (Oxford East, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on the (a) work programme and (b) budget of AWE Aldermaston of changes to the timetable for the replacement of Trident; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what assessment he has made of the implications for the Hydrus project at AWE Aldermaston of changes to the timetable for the replacement of Trident.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

Work is ongoing to examine the effects of the outcome of the strategic defence and security review on the work programme and budget of the Atomic Weapons Establishment. This includes the effect of changes to the timetable for the replacement of Trident.

With regard to the Hydrus project, I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 November 2010, Hansard, column 575W, to Dr Huppert.

Written Answers, Trident, Defence, 10 January 2011

Tessa Munt (Wells, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assumptions were made in respect of the number of submarines to be manufactured when his Department made its estimate of the cost of replacing Trident included in the summary of the Value for Money review.

Liam Fox (Secretary of State, Defence; North Somerset, Conservative)

We remain committed to a policy of Continuous At Sea Deterrence. The cost of replacing the Trident submarines, as set out in the summary of the Value for Money Review, is based on building four submarines. However, the Strategic Defence and Security Review is clear in stating that the decision to finalise the detailed acquisition plans, design and number of submarines will be taken at Main Gate around 2016.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s