HL Deb 15 October 1998 vol 593 cc121-2WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made on the follow-up, both nationally and internationally, to the initiatives on nuclear disarmament set out in the Strategic Defence Review; and whether the possibility of establishing a Five Power Nuclear Forum is becoming a reality. [HL3329]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Reduction of the number of warheads deployed on each Trident submarine should be completed before the end of the year, as planned. Adjustments are being made to future warhead production refurbishment and decommissioning plans to maintain an operationally available stockpile of fewer than 200 warheads. Surplus nuclear material is being placed under Euratom safeguards. Work on publication of past defence missile material production and the study on verification technologies, skills and techniques are both under way.

Internationally, we welcome the establishment by the Conference on Disarmament of an Ad Hoc Committee to negotiate a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, and will play an active part in getting negotiations off to a good start. We continue to consider further ways to achieve progress towards our goal of global nuclear disarmament, building on the steps we have taken in the Strategic Defence Review and bearing in mind the commitment by the Nuclear Weapon States to work together for the success of the preparatory process for the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the conference itself and related issues.