Nuclear weapons

1 June 2023Comment

British nuclear weapons are there to protect investors’ interests

‘For 77 years, nuclear weapons have not been used at all. We should not allow the current situation to negate that history.’ – Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, 28 April

‘We underscore the importance of the 77-year record of non-use of nuclear weapons.... Our security policies are based on the understanding that nuclear weapons, for as long as they exist, should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war and coercion.’ – G7 leaders’ ‘Hiroshima…

1 June 2023News

UK and Australia sign pact, plan to violate Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

On 22 May, the three-country AUKUS military alliance strengthened its anti-China presence in the Pacific when the US signed a new security pact with Papua New Guinea (PNG) which may open the door to AUKUS submarines using PNG facilities.

Under the terms of the AUKUS deal, royal navy submarines are due to make their first deployment to Australia in 2027.

In a recent briefing, USA, Australia Militarizing PNG, former Papua New Guinea foreign affairs officer Dominic Navue…

1 June 2023News

Hundreds join Lakenheath protest

Hundreds of peace activists protested outside USAF Lakenheath in Suffolk on 20 May, demanding that the US keep its nuclear weapons out of Britain. Speakers included Reiner Braun from Germany, CND general secretary Kate Hudson, Guido van Leemput from the Netherlands, actor Michael Mears and CND chair Tom Unterrainer.

1 June 2023News in Brief

On 17 May, Nukewatch monitored a nuclear warhead convoy going from the nuclear bomb factory at AWE Burghfield in southern England to the Trident warhead storage facility in Coulport on the west coast of Scotland. (The 20 or so vehicles were very spread out, for some reason.)

Nukewatch are looking for volunteers in the Norwich area who have their own transport and are interested in plane-spotting at local airbases.

If you’d like to help, please contact:…

5 April 2023Blog

On 15 February, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she was resigning as the leader of the Scottish National Party – and therefore as the leader of Scotland's government (in coalition with the Scottish Greens). Humza Yousaf was elected leader of the SNP on 27 March and then, on 28 March, he was elected to the position of first minister (FM) by members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs). The new FM has a track record of strong support for nuclear disarmament – and for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in particular.

When Nicola Sturgeon resigned from her position as first minister (FM) of Scotland, many people from in Scotland – and from outside – were aware of her unwavering support for Scotland's commitment and action for nuclear disarmament, her rock-solid commitment to  the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (which is supported by an overwhelming majority of UN member states), her actions in sending messages to the TPNW negotiating conference in 2017, and exchanging very public letters…

2 April 2023Feature

Christina Kelly reports on the young people pushing for nuclear disarmament

‘For too long the perception, and feeling, has been that young people aren’t engaged on the topic of nuclear weapons abolition – or at least it just isn’t a priority for them. That fell away in an instant. Seeing so many peers at the last MSP in Vienna was like having a fire re-kindled inside you.’ Those are the words of Jake Atkinson, communications co-co-ordinator of Youth for TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons), talking about the impact on him of the group’s first…

1 April 2023News

Proposal for new disarmament treaty

In mid-March, two US researchers put forward a proposal for a new nuclear disarmament treaty, ‘All START’, in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This would include all five nuclear weapon states recognised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Britain, China and France as well as Russia and the US.

Another new move would be to make the treaty ‘of unlimited duration’ instead of time-limited.

Russia announced in February that it would be suspending its participation in New…

16 March 2023Resource

Years before Russia issued nuclear threats against Ukraine, Britain and the US engaged in nuclear bullying of another non-nuclear weapon state, Iraq.

20 years ago, defence secretary Geoff Hoon insisted publicly the British government ‘reserved the right’ to use nuclear weapons if British troops were threatened by chemical or biological weapons.

This talk by author and activist Milan Rai examines the nuclear threats made in the run-up to the US-UK invasion in 2003, showing how…

1 February 2023Feature

Nuclear bullying of non-nuclear states is a core part of Britain's nuclear doctrine

Sometimes, Western nuclear threats against non-nuclear weapon states have been covert operations, signalled secretly by mobilising strategic nuclear weapon systems (like the British V-bombers sent out to Singapore during the Malaysian Confrontation – see PN 2659).

Sometimes, Western nuclear threats have been very, very public.

Such was the case in the run-up to the March 2003 US-UK assault on Iraq.

It was a very long run-up to war, for reasons discussed…

1 February 2023News in Brief

On 10 January, John LaForge, a co-director of Nukewatch US, entered a German prison to serve a 50-day sentence, becoming the first US citizen ever to be imprisoned for a nuclear weapons protest in Germany.

John had been convicted of trespassing at Büchel air force base in two 2018 protests against the US B61 nuclear bombs stored there (PN 2658).

John was sent to JVA Billwerder prison in Hamburg after refusing to pay a €600 fine. He has appealed the conviction.

1 December 2022News

Lakenheath protest against return of US nuclear weapons to the UK 

Hundreds of people gathered outside Lakenheath, the US air force (USAF) base in Suffolk, at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) demonstration on 19 November.

They were protesting against the return of US nuclear weapons to the UK.

Originally scheduled for spring 2023, the arrival of the new B61-12 free-fall/glide nuclear bomb at USAF Lakenheath seems to have been brought forward to December.

Speakers at the demo included CND chair Tom Unterrainer, Trident…

23 November 2022Blog

A review of the polling evidence since 1954

Below is a list of the UK public opinion polls used to draw up the chart on p17 of PN 2661, reproduced below. This chart showed that, consulting 24 polls during the period 1954 – 2015, only three showed public support for unilateral nuclear disarmament dipping – briefly – below 20 percent (1963: 15 percent / 1964: 16 percent / 2014: 18 percent). The other 21 polls showed much stronger support for British unilateral nuclear…

1 October 2022Review

Ban the bomb!: Ibidem, 2021; 290pp; £26  Rebel verdict: Irene, 2022; 512pp; £25.50 from or £22.50 (+ p&p if ordering) from Housmans bookshop:

Among the first books I read when I got involved in the peace movement in the late 1990s, three were by Michael Randle: Civil resistance (on the history, theory and practice of nonviolence), How to defend yourself in court (a useful instructional) and The Blake Escape (co-authored with Pat Pottle, their thrilling account of how and why they helped to break superspy George Blake out of Wormwood Scrubs prison and smuggle him out of the country).

Unhappily all…

1 October 2022News

More countries sign and ratify anti-nuke treaty

On 22 September, five more countries signed the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and two more ratified it, making 91 signatories and 68 ratifiers in total.

Barbados, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti and Sierra Leone were the signers, and the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo the latest ratifiers.

They were called the ‘Magnificent Seven’ by the chair of Britain’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities, David Blackburn of Leeds city…

1 October 2022Comment

The war in Ukraine is deepening the grave threat to future generations, argues Milan Rai

Every time the US has increased its military support for Ukraine, Russia has responded by escalating in some way.

We’re approaching a very dangerous point now, where a Russian nuclear attack starts to become a real possibility (see p7), with catastrophic consequences not just for Ukraine, but almost certainly for the world.

However, as Noam Chomsky recently pointed out to Truthout: ‘The impact of the war goes far beyond: to the millions facing starvation with the…