Feeds

Trident, nuke energy looking poorly under LibCons

Bet on sub-cruise nukes, power station delays

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Updated Details on the new Conservative/Liberal coalition government are now emerging, as are those of the policy deal struck between the allied parties. On first look, it would appear that the replacement of the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system like-for-like and the planned new generation of nuclear power stations have been thrown into doubt.

[Updated to add: Following release of more detail from the Coalition it appears that the power stations will be subject to a further Commons debate, but if the Coalition stands, so will new nuclear.]

Regarding Trident, the Tories' Liam Fox takes charge at the MoD: but the issue of the deterrent will be decided nationally, so this isn't particularly significant. The Tories are committed to replacing Trident with an equally-capable submarine-launched ICBM system, but they have failed to get agreement on this from the Lib Dems. The coalition agreement specifies that the government remains “committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent”, but also that the Liberals can "continue to make the case for alternatives" and that the Trident replacement will be formally reviewed.

This sets the stage for another Commons vote on replacing Trident at some point in the next year or two, with the Liberals seeking to have it cancelled in favour of a potentially less expensive option - most probably involving the use of cruise missiles rather than ICBMs, perhaps even air-launched rather than submarine-carried ones.

In theory this vote couldn't be won, as Labour said it would replace Trident in its manifesto. However many Labour MPs are personally opposed to this, and it would seem at least possible that the new party leadership won't consider itself bound by Gordon Brown's manifesto commitment - not enough to three-line-whip its many antinuclear MPs into supporting the Tories, anyway.

There would be strong support from within the armed forces for any move to replace Trident with something cheaper, as the MoD budget going forward is ruinously overbooked and all three services fear cuts to things they want in order to pay for new ballistic-missile subs and ICBMs. The army would much rather have its proposed £14bn supertank force, the Future Rapid Effects Systems. The Navy wants its new carriers and - much more expensive - stealth jumpjets to fly from them. The RAF would rather spend the money on new and enhanced Eurofighters, and would also be extremely keen on the idea of air-launched nukes.

This last is relatively unlikely: deputy PM Nick Clegg has previously suggested that he favours the idea of arming the new Astute class attack submarines - already designed to fire Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles - with nuclear warheads. This would be an option potent and survivable enough to satisfy many nuclear-deterrent advocates, and Tomahawks could be obtained cheaply (in this context) from the US. The only major bill to be paid would be that for a new British warhead to go on them. There would be savings on the order of billions per year to be had down the road, compared to replacing Trident like-for-like. This is insignificant in the context of the UK's imperilled public finances, but worth having nonetheless.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.