§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are monitoring the developing trade in weapon destruction in the ex-Soviet Union so as to ensure—
- (a) that all weapon destruction (nuclear, chemical, biological) is carried out safely (remembering Chernobyl fall-out on the British Isles);
- (b) that the whole trade is not monopolised by United States firms; and
- (c) that the residual materials are subjected to all appropriate controls, under International Atomic Energy Authority or standing or ad hoc United Nations auspices.
§ Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
The safety and control of weapons of destruction is fundamentally the responsibility of the state possessing the weapons. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention there is provision for international supervision of destruction. The START Treaty contains procedures for verifying nuclear weapons reductions, and under the bilateral US/Russian assistance programme there will be certain monitoring arrangements.
On 24th December, as one part of our nuclear assistance programme, the MoD awarded a contract to Brown and Root Ltd to provide vehicles for the safe and secure transport of nuclear weapons. We have also offered to advise Russia on the handling of fissile nuclear material, and are offering advice and assistance to the republics of the former Soviet Union in developing national systems of safeguards for civil nuclear material.