The British government declined on Tuesday to say who is responsible for the UK's nuclear codes, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is receiving intensive care unit care for COVID-19 complications.
When asked by the BBC whether Secretary of State Dominic Raab had received the nuclear codes while Johnson was being treated, Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove said: "There are well-developed protocols in place."
"I just can't talk about national security issues," said Michael Gove.
The United Kingdom is one of the five official nuclear weapon states in the world and has four nuclear submarines equipped with Trident II D5 ballistic missiles loaded with nuclear warheads. The UK has a stock of around 215 nuclear warheads, although around 120 are operationally available.
Only the British Prime Minister can authorize a nuclear strike. Such a command would be forwarded to one of the British nuclear submarines using a special set of codes.
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