The Campain for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has today (7 March) strongly criticised the government for "ratcheting up expenditure" on nuclear weapons and called for nuclear armed submarines to be recalled from service in the wake of revelations over new safety issues.
There were renewed calls for Trident to be scrapped and the replacement programme ended, as the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told the House of Commons that hundreds of millions would need to be spent on the submarine and facilities, following a radiation leak at a test nuclear reactor for the Vanguard submarines.
Hammond announced that £120 million would be spent replacing the reactor core of HMS Vanguard, the oldest of the four Trident submarines, while a further £150 million would have to be spent at Raynesway and Devonport construction and refitting facilities.
Questions were left unanswered about the need to replace reactors on the other Vanguard submarines, or the potential impact on future submarine construction.
Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary, said: "For all the government's bluster about reducing the deficit, it is always happy to ratchet up expenditure when it comes to nuclear weapons. It is outrageous that the government can allocate hundreds of millions of pounds to keep nuclear submarines at sea when they admit safety failures that they cannot yet explain the cause of.
"The Trident bill could go up by more than £500 million, on top of the existing programme costs, if a similar amount has to be spent on the remaining three submarines. And costs could escalate further if it creates complications for the remaining Vanguard submarines and the Astute fleet."
She concluded:"The recent failure of flood defences across Southern England did not see a commensurate increase in spending, yet we all expect it to be repeated. With budgets under pressure, it is time we scrapped Trident and put the money where it is needed."