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Clinton and Obama on nuclear weapons


In a recent survey Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama both indicated that they were opposed to plans to build a new nuclear warhead, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW).  However both fell short of giving a clear commitment to scrap the project. 

The decision taken by the next President on new US nuclear weapons will have a major impact on British nuclear options.

The Council for a Livable World has surveyed candidates in the US presidential election for their views on nuclear weapons.  The results are available in an online report.

There were replies from most Democrat candidates, but not from Republican candidates.

All those who responded were in favour of moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons although some qualified their statements on this. 

On the plans to build new weapons Hilary Clinton said "The Bush administration has dangerously put the cart before the horse .. I oppose the Bush Administration's plans for the Reliable Replacement Warhead.  ... As President I will seek bipartisan support for a comprehensive nuclear weapons policy that takes into account the need to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent and the critical importance of restoring American leadership on nonproliferation".

Barack Obama said "I do not support a premature decision to produce the RRW"

Congress is withholding some funding for the new weapons.  The effect will be to postpone the decision on RRW until after the Presidential election.

This has implications for the British Trident replacement programme.  Britain is expected to follow the US lead.  If the US scrapped their project to design a new warhead then Aldermaston would also have to shelve their plans for a new warhead.   All recent British warheads have been copies of American designs.  If a new design is not an option then Aldermaston will plan to keep the current warhead in service for a further 50 years.