§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances nuclear weapons are held as a necessary processing margin or for technical surveillance purposes. 
§ Mr. George Robertson
[holding answer 28 October 1998]: My Department always needs to hold a processing margin of nuclear weapons to ensure that the required number of weapons are always operationally available. Similarly, technical surveillance—in which weapons are periodically removed from the stockpile, stripped down and analysed—is a normal part of our nuclear weapon stewardship programme to guarantee safety, reliability, and performance.