The cost of moving Trident to England would be the same as replacing
the nuclear system say sources
Scottish news: UK government failing to plan post-independence military
by Rosie Harrison
The SNP have bargaining power the size of nuclear missiles against the UK government in the event of independence.
It is estimated that the cost of relocating the UK’s nuclear weapons’ system, Trident, would be £25 billion - the equivalent to replacing the deterrent. However it appears that UK Ministers have not properly planned what should happen to Trident post-independence.
The news is fuelling growing concerns that there is nowhere else within the UK that could accommodate Trident.
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Responding to the assertion from senior defence officials that, in the event of Scottish independence, the nuclear warheads could remain on Scottish territory through negotiation, First Minister Alex Salmond said: "It is inconceivable that an independent nation of 5.25m people would tolerate the continued presence of weapons of mass destruction on its soil."
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond has suggested that Scotland would share the cost of relocating Trident were deemed “idle” by John Ainslie of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Citing precedents from the collapse of the Soviet Union, he points out that it would have been ludicrous to expect countries lumbered with Soviet nuclear weapons, such as the Ukraine, Kazakstahn and Belarus, to finance Russia’s replacement warheads.
Nick Harvey, the Armed Forces Minister, told the Common Scottish Affairs Committee in June that the UK government have not made contingency plans for Trident in the event of independence.
Those with interests south of the border may hope that Mr Harvey is bluffing. If Scotland does vote ‘yes’ in the referendum, Trident could well be at the forefront of the SNP’s negotiations.
The Ministry of Defence has apparently been aware that the UK has no obvious alternative berth for the nuclear submarines since 1963, when a secret study discounted possible alternatives such as Devonport and Barrow.
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