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Nuclear Weapons

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 39995, tabled on 8 June 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department established the Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE); who has been appointed as Senior Responsible Owner for that programme; who the key stakeholders for that programme are; how many scientists from the US national nuclear weapons laboratories are seconded to work on that programme; how many AWE scientists have visited the US national nuclear weapons laboratories as part of that programme; what that projected full cost of that programme is; how many scientists are working on that programme; how much has been spent on that programme to date; and what estimate he has made of the cost of that programme to completion.

Answered on

16 June 2016

The Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme (NWCSP) commenced following an announcement on 19 July 2005 (Official report col 59WS). The current Senior Responsible Owner is Dr Paul Hollinshead. The key stakeholders in the NWCSP are the Ministry of Defence and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). Since 1 April 2008, financial planning for AWE has made no distinction between management and operation costs and those associated with the NWCSP. Expenditure at AWE since 2005 is as follows:

£ million at outturn prices

2005-06

493

2006-07

687

2007-08

894

2008-09

800

2009-10

870

2010-11

944

2011-12

941

2012-13

861

2013-14

961

2014-15

998

Spending plans beyond this Parliament will be set as part of the Government’s spending review process.

The NWCSP draws on the skills of all 5,000 AWE employees. No scientists from the US national nuclear weapons laboratories are seconded to the programme, but a US engineer and serviceman are seconded. The information on how many AWE scientists have visited the US national nuclear weapons laboratories as part of the programme is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.