Peace activists scoffed today at Westminster threats to drag out its removal of Scotland's nuclear weapons over "many years" under independence.
The Con-Dem government has baulked at the cost of moving its Trident nuclear arsenal in an official response to a select committee inquiry on Scotland's upcoming independence referendum.
A key plank of the pro-independence campaign is the Scottish Nationalists' pledge to ban nuclear weapons from Scotland's borders - a move that would force Britain's sole stockpile of Trident missiles out of Faslane's naval base on the Clyde river.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Defence publicly maintains that it has made no contingency plans, saying it is confident that Scotland will vote against independence.
The government's statement today vowed that Scottish independence would not lead to "unilateral disarmament," but warned that relocating the nuclear-armed Vanguard submarines would "come at huge cost.
"It would be an enormous exercise to reproduce the facilities elsewhere," it read.
"It would cost billions of pounds and take many years."
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson has countered that there would be "enough room" for the submarines at HMNB Devonport on England's south coast - but defence officials have said the area is too densely populated to risk an accidental nuclear blast.
But the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament's John Ainslie told the Morning Star he was happy to call the ministry's bluff.
Defence officials were right that Devonport was too densely populated to be safe, he said.
Instead Scotland's nuclear ban would mean a choice between building a new base or abandoning the programme - with the Commons committee confirming that the entire nuclear stockpile "could be disarmed within days and removed within months."
Mr Ainslie said that the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was backing a Yes vote in next year's referendum as it believed that the resulting ban would force Britain to abandon its nuclear weapons altogether.
"There's nowhere for them to go," he said.
The exchange follows a report released by the campaign last week outlining the risks of relocating to Devonport.
Around 166,000 people live within five kilometres of the base, more than 30 times the local population of Faslane.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Lord Feldman says that he didn't call grassroots Tories "mad swivel-eyed loons" while his accusers stand by their stories that he did.
As Aslef's annual assembly of delegates begins in Edinburgh tomorrow the general secretary explains the challenges his members - and workers across the country - face
France is the latest to face clamour from the EU to enforce crippling 'structural reforms.' The medicine is killing the patient