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Who will this new Trident defend us against?No one seems to have an answer to this. It will be useless against terrorists who are supposed to be the new threat. The Soviet Union, the enemy when Britain developed its first nuclear weapon, has long since disappeared. No other country is threatening to use nuclear weapons against us: North Korea doesn't have a deliverable nuclear warhead, and Iran doesn't have anything but enriched uranium.
How much does replacing Trident cost?At least £100 billion. Building new submarines will cost over £25bn. Then the running costs will be around £60bn over the new system's lifetime and eventual decommissioning is estimated to be about £13bn. The warheads will probably need to be replaced. Additional costs include extending the life of this missiles and security costs. This money would be better spent on employing more nurses and teachers, developing clean energy, scrapping tuition fees or building affordable homes.
So what are these alternatives?The report argues for an end to a nuclear-armed submarine being on constant patrol. This would mean a reduction in the number of subs from four to three. But the review was fundamentally flawed in not considering non-replacement of Trident – the most logical alternative.
What do they want to replace it with?A very similar submarine-based system. Due to the Liberal Democrats being opposed to a like-for-like replacement, the Coalition Agreement with the Conservatives signed in 2010 defers any decision on replacing Trident until 2016. In the meantime, a Lib Dem-led Cabinet Office review published in July 2013 looked into possible alternatives.
Why does the government want to replace it?Because the whole system will wear out sometime between 2025 and 2030.