Hansard on Nuclear Weapons, USA and Submarine Accidents, 7th Jul 2008

Categories: 

USA: Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many US nuclear weapons are maintained at /(a)/ RAF Lakenheath, (b) other UK mainland bases and (c) UK bases overseas; and if he will make a statement. [215792]

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all US nuclear weapons have been removed from the UK; and if he will make a statement. [215449]

Des Browne: NATO's Strategic Concept (paragraph 63) states that,

“nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”

It is NATO and UK policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at a given location.

Nuclear Submarines: Accidents

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether nuclear submarine accident procedures required by his Department are standardised for all ports at which such submarines which have been involved in an accident may berth. [216270]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Onboard procedures are standardised by submarine class and are generic to any location.

Emergency plans for submarine berths are not standardised but are developed, owned and maintained by the locally responsible authority. Where UK legislation is not directly applicable the MOD policy is, as far as possible, to apply UK standards.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that UK nuclear weapons susceptible to popcorning, with particular regard to /(a)/ their resistance to multiple simultaneous impacts and /(b)/ replacing the explosive currently used to surround the plutonium cores; and if he will make a statement. [215791]

Des Browne: The safety of any nuclear warhead is of paramount importance in authorising its inclusion in the UK stockpile. I am satisfied with the safety of the current UK stockpile, which is reviewed continually to ensure acceptable levels of safety are maintained.

For the purpose of safeguarding national security, I am not prepared to comment further on particular aspects of nuclear warhead design.