Hansard on US/UK nuclear weapons cooperation

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Parliamentary Answers on Nuclear Weapons, 27 Feb 2009 : Column 1149W 

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British personnel were involved in the design competition for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. [258416]

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British personnel were briefed on the results of the Reliable Replacement Warhead design competition. [258417]

Mr. Hutton: Officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Atomic Weapons Establishment regularly discuss a range of nuclear matters with their US counterparts under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. I am withholding information about the detail of these discussions in the interests of national security.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the date was of each meeting of the Joint Working Group since 2001; and what the purpose of each meeting was. [258424]

Mr. Hutton: The following Joint Working Groups (JOWOGS) operate under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement:

/Joint working group/     /Title/

6                            Radiation Simulation and Kinetic Effects

9                            Energetic Materials

22                          Nuclear Materials

23                          Warhead Electrical Components and Technologies

28                          Non-Nuclear Materials

29                          Nuclear Counter-Terrorism Technology

30                          Facilities

31                          Nuclear Weapons Engineering

32                          Nuclear Warhead Physics

34                          Computational Technology

36                          Aircraft, Missile and Space System Hardening

37                          Laboratory Plasma Physics

39                          Manufacturing Practices

41                          Nuclear Warhead Accident Response

42                          Nuclear Weapon Code Development

43                          Nuclear Weapon Environment and Damage Effects

44                          Methodologies for Nuclear Weapon Safety Assurance

Since January 2001 the following number of JOWOG and JOWOG—related meetings have taken place:

/Meetings in the US/     /Meetings in the UK/     /Total number of meetings/

2001

118                          62                            180

2002

133                          66                            199

2003

133                          58                            191

2004

118                          87                           205

2005

168                           75                           243

2006

159                           80                           239

2007

207                         91                           298

27 Feb 2009 : Column 1150W

2008

187                          93                           280

2009 (to date)

23                           10                            33

I am withholding further detail of the content of JOWOG discussions in the interests of national security.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what visits have been made by /(a)/ US personnel to Aldermaston and  (b) Aldermaston personnel to (i) Los Alamos, (ii) Sandia and (iii) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in each year since 2003; and what the purpose of each of those visits was. [258427]

Mr. Hutton: The total number of visits by Atomic Weapons Establishment personnel to each of the US national laboratories and vice versa in support of all aspects of work covered by the Mutual Defence Agreement (including the Polaris Sales Agreement—as amended for Trident), is as follows:

/To Los Alamos/     /From Los Alamos/

2003

228                     242

2004

130                    215

2005

183                    152

2006

194                     170

2007

312                     182

2008

217                     255

2009 (to date)

35                       37

/To Sandia/     /From Sandia/

2003

155               104

2004

162               103

2005

271                70

2006

213                104

2007

288                151

2008

291               185

2009 (to date)

93                 13

/To Lawrence Livermore/     /From Lawrence Livermore/

2003

104                               87

2004

123                                93

2005

205                                105

2006

156                                97

2007

217                               143

2008

149                               140

2009 (to date)

28                                 13

These figures include personnel making more than one visit, and visits to several sites during a single trip.

I am withholding further detail of the purpose of these visits in the interests of national security.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether scientists from the United States have made use of hydrodynamic facilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment for experiments on US
warhead designs. [258434]

27 Feb 2009 : Column 1151W

Mr. Hutton: Under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, joint UK/US hydrodynamic experiments have been carried out to ensure the continued safety, security, and performance of our current nuclear stockpiles.