REMOVING nuclear weapons can be achieved by day one of an independent Scotland, the Alba Party have said.

A new policy paper by Alex Salmond’s party said that the “only justification” for nuclear weapons to remain in Scotland any longer would be for “financial compensation”.

Assuming that the time between a vote for independence and the first day as a newly established independent state would be two years, the party said that it would be possible to complete the “entire programme” of removing nukes and submarines from Scotland would take just three months.

The paper, authored by Alba’s general secretary Chris McEleny (below) who is a former employee of the Ministry of Defence, estimates the time for removing Trident missiles from one Vanguard submarine to be less than one day and the removal of warheads from missiles to be five days.

The National: Chris McEleny ..Christopher McEleny.

The nuclear components could then be removed for storage at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, Berkshire and the Trident missiles moved to the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, USA, the paper added.

READ MORE: Money spent on Trident could be used on social security after independence

All in this process would take 12 weeks, the paper argued, adding: “This could obviously be extended if the UK Government made the decision to end the programme in advance of the date at which Scotland would be re-established as an independent country.”

If the UK Government did not accept this, the paper goes on, the new Scottish Government could block ballistic missile submarines from entering Scottish waters and close the Border to convoys of warheads from England.

Could UK axe Trident replacement? 

This could see the UK Government decide to host its nuclear warheads in the US, something the paper said could put “immense financial pressures” on the remaining parts of Britain after independence.

The paper said: “Faced with this eventuality it is entirely possible that the UK Government may make the political choice to cancel the successor programme to Trident.”

McEleny said: “The independence movement and the campaign for nuclear disarmament have went hand in hand for many decades.

“In recent years there has been an increasing narrative moving towards a multilateral approach within some quarters of the independence movement and some have suggested that removing Trident from Scotland would be a longer-term goal.

“This policy paper sets out today that it is safe, feasible and practicable to ensure that an independent Scotland will begin its life as a nuclear weapons-free state from day one.”