Alvarez said that the extension of the deal is “business as usual—standard boiler plate stuff” and is likely to breeze through Congress.

However, nuclear ‘business as usual’ has fallen under increasing criticism, with people around the world pushing their governments to move away from nuclear weapons. President Obama said in a a 2009 speech that nuclear non-proliferation would be a key tenet of his foreign policy, declaring, “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

But in his message about the deal, Obama takes the ongoing role of a “nuclear deterrent” as a given for both the U.S. and the U.K.: “The United Kingdom intends to continue to maintain viable nuclear forces into the foreseeable future. Based on our previous close cooperation, and the fact that the United Kingdom continues to commit its nuclear forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, I have concluded it is in the United States national interest to continue to assist the United Kingdom in maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent.”

A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found that, as of the beginning of 2014, the U.S. had 7,300 nuclear warheads, with the U.K. possessing 225.

The deal has whipped up controversy in the U.K., where—as Richard Norton Tailor reports for the Guardian—it is critical to the highly controversial Trident nuclear weapons system which is fiercely opposed by anti-nuclear advocates.

According to the Nuclear Information Service report, “The nuclear relationship between the USA and the US is not a partnership of equals. The UK relies on unique US facilities and capabilities for support to the extent that its nuclear weapons programme cannot be regarded as technically independent from the USA.”

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