Insiders report that the Atomic Weapons Establishment has already commenced work on a successor warhead to Trident, despite there having been no parliamentary debate or vote on the matter.
Every year, the Ministry of Defence gives hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to the Atomic Weapons Establishment – composed of Lockheed Martin, Serco and, currently, BNFL - to spend on new state-of-the-art research and development facilities and recruitment of hundreds of scientists, engineers and other staff at their Aldermaston and Burghfield sites in Berkshire. Despite this, defence secretary Des Browne continues to deny that the UK is working on a replacement nuclear warhead, insisting that the developments are merely to ‘maintain the capability’ to produce a replacement warhead, should it be decided that one is ‘needed’.
In March 2007, Parliament agreed in principle - despite a huge Labour rebellion - to spend tens of billions of pounds replacing the Vanguard submarine fleet, based at Faslane in Scotland; but the decision on a replacement warhead programme for the Trident system has never been put to the vote. It is likely that such a programme would represent a further breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which the UK is a signatory and claims to be committed to. 'The Herald', however, reports that work has already begun at Aldermaston on a new warhead, in collaboration with the US .
Block the Builders have called a major blockade of AWE Aldermaston on Monday 12th November to disrupt the ongoing developments at the site and send a loud and clear message to the government that we the British public will not be hoodwinked into nuclear proliferation by the back door. Arrestable blockaders and non-arrestable supporters are needed and warmly welcomed. Accommodation and food will be provided on Sunday night. For further details, please visit: http://www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
1. Britain in top-secret work on new atomic warhead - Ian Bruce, The Herald, September 04 2007 http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1661681.0.0.php
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