A new report in The Guardian suggests that there is uncertainty over the replacement of Trident, as it remains unclear whether the US Congress will fund the next generation W93 nuclear warheads on which the future of the UK’s nuclear programme depends.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary at the MoD, told the defence select committee that “there would no doubt be very significant implications” if the Americans do not fund the new technology, but refused to comment on what impact it would have on the cost of Trident replacement.
Commenting on the story, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
‘The reticence of Congress to approve the new warhead technology on which the future of Britain’s nuclear programme relies is yet another sign of its redundancy. More than that, it completely trashes any notion that the UK system is independent.
Replacing Trident is already set to cost at least £205 billion, while £21.9 billion is currently being spent on maintaining existing nuclear warheads. If the US does not not approve the W93 warhead upgrade, then the cost will spiral even further – beyond the capacity of the MoD to pay.
So it is unsurprising that the MoD still refuses to give an official cost estimate. Trident is a cold war relic that does nothing to address the real threats to Britain’s security, from climate change to pandemics and hybrid warfare.
With public sector workers facing a pay freeze, and the government failing to invest properly in a green recovery from the pandemic, spending tens of billions more on replacing what is in effect an outpost of Washington’s nuclear arsenal is unjustifiable.’