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Doctrine and Policy

In order to remain a world nuclear power, Britain decided in 1945 to create a weapons program with the aim of producing atomic bombs, using plutonium as the fissile material in the bombs. Until 1945, Britain had collaborated with the Americans but the latter passed an act in 1946 forbidding information on weapons being passed to another country. On 03 October 1952 the first British atomic test was carried out aboard a ship moored off the north west coast of Australia.

According to the December 2006 White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent, nuclear weapons continue to provide the ultimate security guarantee. This conclusion echoes the findings of the July 1998 Strategic Defense Review [SDR]. Both reviews concluded that world is uncertain and potentially dangerous and that Britain continues to require a credible and effective minimum nuclear deterrent based on the Trident submarine force. This has provided Britain's only nuclear system since the dismantlement of the RAF's free-fall nuclear bombs in 1998. Britain's Trident force, which serves both a strategic and a "substrategic" mission, supports both Britain's security as well as the NATO alliance.

Sources and Resources

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Maintained by Robert Sherman and Hans M. Kristensen
Updated December 5, 2006