Trident Nuclear Programme
1. The British Government seek to renew the Trident at a cost of £100 billion. What are your views?
The Trident programme is operated by the Royal Navy and based at Clyde Naval Base, Faslane, on the west coast of Scotland, at least one submarine is always on patrol to provide a continuous at-sea capability. Each one is armed with up to 8 missiles and 40 warheads.
Its stated purpose by the Ministry of Defence is to "deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, which cannot be done by other means". Trident replaced the submarine-based Polaris system, in operation from 1968 until 1996.
In the 1990s, the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme was £9.8 billion
In 2005–06, annual expenditure for the running and capital costs was estimated at between £1.2bn and £2.2bn
Since Trident became operational in 1994, annual expenditure has ranged between 3 and 5.5 per cent of the defence budget by 2007–08.
As of 2009, each missile, built in the United Sates, cost the government nearly £16.8 million ($29.1 m).
Every year, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) manufactures new warheads to ensure the longevity of the Trident programme. Old warheads are dismantled and refurbished. Warheads have been assembled at the AWE facilities near Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, since 1992. They are transported to the armaments depot 720 km (450 miles) away at RNAD Coulport in Scotland by heavily guarded convoys.
Each Trident missile has a range of up to 7,500 miles (12,000km) and the destructive power of each missile is the equivalent of eight Hiroshimas.
The U.S. led attack on Hiroshima in 1945 killed between 70,000 and 180,000 civilian men women and children. The U.S. led attack on Nagasaki killed between 39,000 and 80,000 civilian men women and children. (Statistics vary depending on source).