The publication of the Integrated Review of Defence and Security Policy has confirmed that the UK’s nuclear warhead stockpile will increase to 260 by the middle of the decade, ending over 30 years of gradually declining stockpile numbers.
The UK currently has around 180 nuclear warheads, stored in Coulport in Scotland when not deployed on submarines, with each one around eight times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The number of warheads the UK holds has been decreasing since its peak of around 500 at the end of the Cold War. The last Strategic Defence and Security Review, which was published in 2015, suggested that the number of stockpiled warheads would be capped at 180 by the mid 2020s and no more than 120 should be operational.
The publication of the Integrated Review of Defence and Foreign Policy due to “the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats”. There has been condemnation of the decision from Christian leaders, many politicians and even the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The decision to increase the number of warheads is against the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which the UK is a member. It also comes at a time when 130 states have expressed support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into law on Friday 22 January 2021.
Christian CND will be joining other faith groups and broader civil society in opposing these plans. We hope you will join us as we continue to work and pray for a nuclear weapons-free world.