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Government's lies on Trident warehead replacement revelead

AWPC | 26.07.2008 09:09 | Anti-militarism | South Coast

AWPC were right all along

Press release: Government's lies on Trident warhead replacement revealed
24 July 2008

An article published in today's Guardian [1] has confirmed what Aldermaston
Women's Peace Camp (AWPC) have repeatedly stated since 2002: the government has
already taken the decision to replace the current warhead system used on
Britain's Trident submarines.

According to speaking notes released under the Freedom of Information
Act, in June 2007 David Gould, then the chief operating officer at the Defence
Equipment and Support Organisation, told a future deterrent industry day
event: "The intention is to replace the entire Vanguard class submarine
system. Including the warhead and missile."[2]

Although the parliamentary vote on Trident in March 2007 ostensibly covered only
the replacement of the platform - the Vanguard class submarine -
AWPC have, on the basis of AWE Aldermaston's 2002 Site Development Strategy Plan and
the subsequent massive building programme at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, continuously
asserted that the decision to replace the nuclear warheads had already been taken, possibly as early as
2001. The government however continued to claim that the decision on
the warheads would be taken in the next parliament.

"We have been repeatedly drawing attention to the government's lies
about what is going on behind the fence at Aldermaston, " AWPC said
today, "The fact is that the Labour government - without any democratic
scrutiny or public debate - has condemned the UK to another 50 years as
a nuclear weapons state."

AWPC have over the past six years monitored, documented and opposed the
new developments at Aldermaston, which to date include the construction
of the Orion laser (which can test nuclear materials in conditions
replicating that of a nuclear explosion); the acquisition of a new
supercomputer and the construction of the Gemini office complex to
house more than 1500 new staff being recruited to work on the new programme.

Concerns about the secrecy shrouding new developments at Aldermaston
were expressed by the Defence Select Committee in December 2006 following a
submission by AWPC [3] which documented not only the building programme,
but provided a detailed analysis of contracts that had already been
issued to private companies involved in project management, design and construction
of the new facilities.

Recent further confirmation that the decision had already been taken was
revealed last month when the Ministry of Defence indicated in response
to a parliamentary question that they would be applying in early 2009
for planning permission to build a new uranium enrichment facility at
Aldermaston, a decision that industry and disarmament experts had believed would only be
taken after the "main gate" decision to go ahead with the warheads. [4]

Notes to editors
For further information see or ring 07887 802879

[1] See :

[2] For further background information and to view the document, obtained by the coordinator of Scottish CND, see


[4] Hansard Written answers 26 Jun 2008 : Column 447W—continued
See also Jane's Defence Weekly, Denise Hammick and Richard Scott, "Debating Deterrence", 12 March 2008.



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  1. still fed up, even having left the country — Expat