The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced spending of £5 billion at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire.

This means that AWE Management Limited, which is a joint venture consisting of Lockheed Martin, Serco and Jacobs Engineering Group, will receive £1bn a year for the next five years.

This is the second time in six months that the MoD has announced spending on AWE, which develops and maintains the nuclear warheads for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

In November 2011 an extra £2bn spending was announced to pay for new facilities for warhead assembly/disassembly and high-explosives testing, among other projects.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND),

‘At a time of massive spending cuts to vital public services, it is disgraceful that the government keeps ploughing money into a redundant Cold War weapons system.

The government isn’t listening to over 60% of the British public who want to see Trident scrapped.

A decision on whether or not to replace Trident is not due in Parliament until 2016. But the scale of spending on nuclear weapons, which we are frequently reassured is simply routine investment, suggests that the MoD is trying to force Parliament’s hand by making Trident replacement a fait accompli.

This is unacceptable, shadowy decision-making which is economically unjustifiable, strategically wrongheaded and morally bankrupt. And worst of all they’re paying for it out of the pockets of people who oppose it.’