Skip to main content
Opposed

United Kingdom

Nuclear-armed state (195 nuclear warheads)

The United Kingdom boycotted the TPNW negotiations in 2017 and has not adhered to the Treaty. It is a nuclear-armed state and not in compliance with all of the prohibitions in Article 1. The United Kingdom may sign and ratify the TPNW, but will have to make changes to its policies and practices to become compliant.

TPNW status
Not signed, not ratified, not acceded
Compatibility with prohibitions in TPNW Article 1(1)
Art 1(1)(a) Develop, produce, manufacture, acquire Not compatible
Test Compatible
Possess or stockpile Not compatible
Art 1(1)(b) Transfer Compatible
Art 1(1)(c) Receive transfer or control Not compatible
Art 1(1)(d) Use Compatible
Threaten to use Compatible
Art 1(1)(e) Assist, encourage or induce Not compatible
Art 1(1)(f) Seek or receive assistance Not compatible
Art 1(1)(g) Allow stationing, installation, deployment Compatible
TPNW voting and participation
Vote on negotiation mandate (A/RES/71/258) Voted no
Participated in treaty negotiations (% women) No (N/A)
Vote on adoption of treaty text N/A
Last vote on UNGA resolution Voted no
Fissile material
Fissile material production facilities Yes
Highly enriched uranium stocks 22,600 kg
Plutonium stocks (military/civilian) 3,200 kg/115,800 kg
Related treaties and regimes
Party to the NPT Yes
Party to a NWFZ No (4 of 5 NSA protocols)
Ratified the CTBT Yes (Annex 2 state)
Party to the PTBT Yes
Member of the CD Yes
IAEA CSA in force Voluntary offer agreement
IAEA AP in force Partial
Party to the CWC Yes
Party to the BWC Yes

Latest developments

The United Kingdom voted against the UN General Assembly resolutions on the TPNW in 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2017, the government said that the United Kingdom 'does not intend to sign, ratify or become party to' the TPNW. It further stated that '[t]he unpredictable international security environment we face today demands the maintenance of our nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future.' More than 30 bishops of the Church of England published a letter in the Observer on 15 November 2020, calling on the UK government to sign the TPNW. Despite the UK government's position, the devolved government in Scotland has reiterated repeatedly its opposition to nuclear weapons. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the majority of Scottish parliamentarians both in the Scottish Parliament and among those who represent Scotland in the UK Parliament at Westminster have signed ICAN's Parliamentary Pledge and spoken out in support of the TPNW. The cities of Edinburgh and Manchester have joined ICAN’s Cities Appeal. See: bit.ly/2mp3twV, bit.ly/37DegYk, bit.ly/2ms2psg.

Recommendations

  • The United Kingdom should acknowledge that nuclear deterrence is not a sustainable solution for its own or international security, and that any perceived benefits are far outweighed by the risk of nuclear accidents or war. It should move rapidly to verifiably reduce and eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
  • The United Kingdom should urgently sign and ratify the TPNW, and encourage other states to adhere to the Treaty. Until it is in a position to do so, it should welcome the TPNW as a valuable contribution to the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture, attend its meetings of states parties as an observer, and work with its states parties on practical steps towards disarmament.
  • The United Kingdom should implement in good faith its obligations under Article VI of the NPT. It should conclude and bring into force a full Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocol (AP) with the IAEA.
Can you help us update this state profile? Send e-mail
Did you find this interesting?
Print state profile