§ Mr. Bradley
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the significance of the decision to manufacture tritium in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Mason
Tritium is a material used in the manufacture of some nuclear weapons. It has a limited life and therefore its replacement is part of the process of maintaining our stock of nuclear weapons.
The decision to manufacture tritium in the United Kingdom is a measure designed to safeguard the supply of this material in the long term and to reduce expenditure of foreign currency. It does not signify any change in the nuclear weapons programme; in the numbers or types of nuclear weapons of British or American manufacture with which British forces are equipped; or in the Anglo-American nuclear relationship. Manufacture of tritium in the United Kingdom, instead of importing it, is expected to reduce defence expenditure marginally and will of course provide employment.