Memorandum from Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru welcomes the Defence Committee's
inquiry and this opportunity to respond to the White Paper.
Plaid Cymru believes that nuclear weapons are
unusable, that the expense cannot be justified and that they are
morally and legally wrong.
We therefore oppose the replacement of the Trident
nuclear weapon system and demand that the UK Government honours
its commitment under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and
disarms rather than preparing to rearm.
We ask the Defence Committee to take into account
That nuclear weapons would not defend
the UK from the security threats it faces now and in the future,
including terrorist attacks and climate change.
That Britain is encouraging non-nuclear
states to gain access to nuclear weapons by demonstrating our
long term commitment to them and emphasising their importance
to a country's security. This undermines the UK's condemnation
of other states for attempting to become nuclear powers.
That the International Court of Justice
Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons of July 1996 and the Non Proliferation
Treaty of 1968 declared that there was an obligation to pursue
That when the decision was made in
1980 to replace the Polaris nuclear weapon system with Trident,
the UK Parliament was not properly informed of either its existence
or cost. It is essential that there is proper parliamentary scrutiny,
a full debate and a free vote in the final decision.
That it has been conservatively estimated
that replacing Trident would cost more than £15 billion,
not including the full cost of decommissioning, dealing with waste
or contamination. The full cost must be made clear and weighed
against other funding priorities such as health and education.
Based on its planned lifespan, the current Trident
system could remain operational until around 2025. The intervening
years should be used to plan disarmament and implement the NPT
Treaty internationally. This time could also be used to find alternative
uses for the skills of the current workforce and provide retraining
17 January 2007