Britain’s nuclear deterrent is set to cost five times more than the official Ministry of Defence (MoD) estimate over the 40-year life of the programme, new figures show. The costs for replacing Britain’s four nuclear-armed submarines could be as high as £172 billion by 2070, a new report by the campaign group Nuclear Information Service has suggested. The study says a “perfect storm” of risks, including a lack of suitably qualified manpower, uncertain currency exchange rates post-Brexit and the rising costs of reactor cores, could make the programme more than five times the MoD estimate of £31 billion. The report highlights “mounting problems”and says it is “unlikely that key aspects of the programme will be delivered on time and to budget”. Most alarmingly, the report suggests “serious potential” for delays to hinder the Royal Navy’s ability to maintain Britain’s Continuous At Sea Deterrence, whereby there is at least one nuclear-armed submarine at sea at all times. Britain’s nuclear deterrent of around 215 warheads is deployed on four Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, to be replaced throughout the 2030s by the Dreadnought-class. Trevor Taylor, of Rusi, a Defence and Security think tank, says it is more important to address the short term pressures on the submarine budget within the MoD’s equipment plan. “In terms of building submarines and disposing of the old ones, the pressures [across the submarine budget as a whole] to spend money in the near future rather than being able to postpone it are building up.
Telegraph 3rd May 2019 read more »