§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what capabilities have been developed to verify the reduction in nuclear weapons since July 1998; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ingram
[holding answer 25 April 2002]: Following commitments made in the Strategic Defence Review the Ministry of Defence has developed its capability to consider technologies, skills and techniques which may be utilised in the verification of the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. The MOD published a paper entitled 'Nuclear Verification' in April 2000 which summarised the work of an initial study by the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston which examined the United Kingdom's capabilities to verify the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. A verification research programme has also been established to cover further technical and systems studies and this is continuing. MOD will continue to maintain its awareness of technologies which may be relevant to the verification of nuclear disarmament.