Why is the United Kingdom raising its nuclear stockpile limits?

Featured in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

UK Nuclear Policy


A definitive judgment is hard to reach. It is plausible that several of these factors were at play simultaneously. Nuclear decision-making is often complicated and rarely a matter of pure strategy. That said, changing the United Kingdom’s nuclear policy for primarily programmatic or political reasons, without urgent strategic justification, would be a serious misstep. So, too, would be a strengthening of the salience of UK nuclear weapons without a thorough examination of how they fit into the country’s security strategy and broader national ambitions.