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Nuclear-Armed Britain

About the project

In December 2006 the British government declared its intention to renew its single remaining Trident nuclear weapon system and retain a nuclear arsenal well into the 2050s. The decision sparked widespread debate on the rationales for continued British possession of nuclear weapons, the consequences of retaining nuclear weapons, and the possibilities for partial or full nuclear disarmament.

This led to a new research project on "Nuclear-Armed Britain" that has developed in three stages since October 2007:

1. Part I (2007-08) constituted a critical examination of the government’s decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system and the rationales that supported that decisions. Part I was generously funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT).

2. Part II (2008-10) involved a detailed examination of alternative options for UK nuclear weapons policy between a like-for-like replacement and zero nuclear weapons and the opportunities and challenges involved in different options. Part II was generously funded by JRCT and the Nuclear Education Trust.

3. Part III (2010-12) is examining the concept of 'devaluing' nuclear weapons in detail to critically assess the political and practical prospects and challenges of implementing significant devaluing steps in the UK in the context of the ongoing debate on Trident replacement and the concept of ‘minimum deterrence’. Part III has been generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and JRCT.

This website provides details of the project, access to the project's briefing papers and articles, and a database of government, parliamentary, academic and independent reports and analysis.

The project is run by Dr Nick Ritchie, Lecturer in International Security at the Department of Politics.


Research data

Follow the links below for research data on Trident, nuclear deterrence and nuclear proliferation in the following categories:

  • Government: Links to UK government reports and statements.
  • Parliamentary: Links to UK parliamentary committee and library reports. 
  • Academic: Links to academic journal articles.
  • Independent: Links to independent think-tank and NGO reports.
  • Opinion polls: Links to opinion polls on UK nuclear weapons policy


Latest news

Nick Ritchie discusses the politics of the recent Trident Alternatives Review for the Guardian in 'It's crunch time on Trident for Miliband and his Party'.


Dr. Nick Ritchie
Department of Politics
University of York
York, YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324104