London, Feb.9 (ANI): The Gordon Brown Government has placed itself in hot waters after the British Defence MInistry revealed that the United States military has been using an atomic weapons factory in Britain to carry out research into its own nuclear warhead programme.
The Guardian quoted US defense officials as saying that "very valuable" warhead research has taken place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire as part of an ongoing and secretive deal between the British and American Governments.
The extent of US involvement at Aldermaston came to light in an interview with John Harvey, Policy and Planning Director at the US National Nuclear Security Administration, carried out last year by the think tanks Chatham House and the Centre for Strategic Studies.
Referring to "dual axis hydrodynamic" experiments which, with the help of computer modelling, replicate the conditions inside a warhead at the moment it starts to explode, Harvey said: "There are some capabilities that the UK has that we don't have and that we borrow... that I believe we have been able to exploit that's been very valuable to us."
The British Defence Ministry admitted it is working with the US on the UK's "existing nuclear warhead stockpile and the range of replacement options that might be available" but declined to give any further information.
In the wake of this revelation, opposition MPs have called for a full parliamentary inquiry into the extent of the collaboration at Aldermaston and campaign groups warned any such deal was in breach of international law.
They added that it also undermined Britain's claim to have an independent nuclear weapons programme and meant British taxpayers were effectively subsidising America's nuclear programme.
It is unclear whether the experiments are still being carried out but, in the same interview, Harvey admitted that the US and UK had struck a new deal over the level of cooperation, including work on US plans for a new generation of nuclear warhead known as the Reliable Replacement Warhead. (ANI)