LONDON (Alliance News) - Peter Gershon, the chairman of National Grid PLC, has been informally approached to take control of the programme to build new nuclear-missile submarines to replace the existing Trident fleet following a vote in Parliament earlier this week, the BBC reported.
Trident is the UK's nuclear programme that covers the development, procurement and operation of nuclear weapons as one of the three NATO members allowed to maintain such a programme alongside the US and France.
There are four nuclear submarines within the Trident fleet and at least one of them has been on patrol at all times since 1969, but the fleet now needs replacing and this has been given the all-clear after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the renewal earlier this week, although there was opposition to the plan.
The BBC said the project to replace Trident is expected to cost around GBP40.00 billion, while Reuters has estimated the new fleet could cost the taxpayer GBP130.00 billion over its lifetime. The official figure from the Ministry of Defence is GBP31.00 billion with a GBP10.00 billion contingency added on.
The submarines are built by BAE Systems PLC, which owns and operates the UK's only submarine construction yard, at Barrow-in-Furness, and the reactors that power them are made by Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC.
Defence industry sources say, according to the BBC, that Whitehall has considered a radical approach, such as appointing an independent project manager to oversee BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.
The final approach has yet to be determined, the sources said, but it was likely to either be a new agency, or a collaborative partnership between all the contractors and government, with independent oversight included.
National Grid's Gershon has received informal approaches to see if he would be interested in chairing such a partnership. It is understood he has been non-committal and is likely only to consider such a role properly once the final contract structure is determined.
Gershon is also the chairman of Tate & Lyle PLC.
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