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UK puts nuclear arsenal size at 225

27 May 2010 16:26

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has publicly announced the country’s number of nuclear warheads at 225, with 160 already “operationally available.”

Hague disclosed the figures in Britain’s first public accounting of its total nuclear arsenal in the House of Commons on Wednesday, after evaluating the situations where the UK may need to use atomic weapons, the New York Times reported.

The development came after the Obama administration’s recent disclosure of its 5,113 nuclear warheads.

British governments have long based their nuclear doctrine on the principle of “calculated ambiguity” or “uncertainty” to deter potential enemies.

“This country has been deliberately ambiguous over the precise circumstances of use,” the Guardian quoted Hague as saying.

Hague now says Britain is prepared to look again at its “declaratory policy to ensure that it is fully appropriate to the political and security context in 2010 and beyond,” the Guardian reported.

“We believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold,” the New York Times quoted Hague as telling the House of Commons. “We judge that this will assist in building a climate of trust between nuclear and nonnuclear weapons states and contribute, therefore, to future efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide.”

Countries that do not hold nuclear weapons have always been concerned about the size and nature of the arsenals of nuclear weapon states — the United States, Britain, Russia, France, and China.

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