Nuclear weapons continue to pose a profound threat to human life on the planet. This section of the website includes material on the history of nuclear weapons and their effects, why they are still such a threat and why the UK should not be renewing Trident.
The UK Trident nuclear missile system is deployed on a fleet of four Vanguard-class nuclear submarines based at the Faslane Naval Base in Scotland, with the weapons stored at nearby Coulport. Each submarine has at least forty100Kt warheads mounted on ballistic missiles with a range of over 4,000 nautical miles; and one submarine is always deployed at sea ready to fire on command. The warheads are due to be replaced by life extended ‘enhanced ‘ versions (W76-Mark 4A).
The UK government would like to replace Trident completely: the cost is likely to be in excess of £100bn over 30 years. Although some work on the infrastructure for the renewal of Trident has already begun, the final ‘Main Gate ‘decision is not to be taken by Parliament until 2016. Therefore, we currently have a brief window of opportunity to persuade Parliamentarians not to renew Trident.
These weapons are the UK’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Medact opposes them vigorously. But Medact’s goal is for all nuclear weapons to be eliminated globally and for the UK to lead the way by dismantling Trident – it is not enough for the UK simply not to replace it. To set an example and demonstrate its commitment to the NPT the UK could safely, as a step towards disarmament, downgrade Trident rather than replace it. Even better, it could support negotiations toward,and early entry into force, of a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.