Nuclear Weapons

1 October 2021Feature

An extract from a speech at the recent event 'Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace - opposing violence, militarism and war'

‘Greenham 40th: Feminist Peace – opposing violence, militarism and war’ was one of the many events organised by Greenham Women Everywhere this autumn to mark the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in 1981. These events included an online series of ‘Weaving the Web/inar’ meetings organised by Greenham campaigners.

The ‘feminist peace’ webinar included local and international speakers involved in Women in Black (WiB) in conversation about the…

1 October 2021Feature

Milan Rai reviews a flawed, fascinating, worm’s eye view of history

Why exactly was there a Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago?

When the US signed an agreement in 1959 to put Jupiter nuclear missiles into a non-nuclear weapon state neighbouring the Soviet Union, there wasn’t a ‘Turkish Missile Crisis’.

From their Turkish base, the Jupiters could easily reach Moscow – and deliver warheads 100 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Despite this provocation, the USSR didn’t start a military confrontation with US forces…

1 October 2021Comment

Milan Rai pieces together the story of a crucial moment in the Cuban Missile Crisis

Nine years ago, we wrote about a Russian naval officer named Vasili Arkhipov who saved the world.

We’ve learned since then that the story of Arkhipov’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis was a little more complicated than we thought. Even so, it is clear that Arkhipov played a key role in preventing a confrontation at sea turning into global nuclear war.

On 27 October 1962, 12 US warships surrounded a submerged Soviet submarine, the B-59, a began dropping hand grenades…

1 October 2021News

Case dismissed as 'no case to answer'

On 16 September, two Faslane Peace Campers had the case against them thrown out of Dunbarton justice of the peace court. One of them had spent nearly six weeks in prison on remand, waiting for the trial.

Willemien Hoogendoorn and Jon had been arrested for ‘breach of the peace’ on Hiroshima Day, 6 August, after blockading the North Gate of Faslane nuclear submarine base from 6.30am till around 12 noon.

According to the Helensburgh Advertiser, ‘tailbacks were reported in…

1 October 2021News

Britain's coastal military nuclear infrastructure 'profoundly vulnerable to flooding'

Climate change could flood Faslane naval base, home to Britain’s Trident nuclear missile submarine force. That’s one conclusion of Climate Impact – UK Nuclear Military, a report released in September by the independent research institute, the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG).

Climate Impact says that; ‘Present UK coastal military nuclear infrastructure is profoundly vulnerable to flooding from sea-level rise, storm intensity and storm surge – with inland nuclear…

4 December 2020News

Nuclear arms race and ‘limited political response’ to climate change shift Doomsday clock forward 20 seconds

The end of the world is closer than it’s ever been, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. On 23 January, the Bulletin moved the hands of its Doomsday Clock 20 seconds forward.

The clock, which symbolises how close humanity is to destruction, is now only 100 seconds to midnight.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, said: ‘We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for…

1 August 2019News in Brief

The rate of ratifications of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has slowed dramatically.

Signatures are nice, but 50 states need to actually ratify the treaty, which the UN adopted on 7 July 2017, for it to come into force. In democracies, ratification usually requires parliament to pass a law.

In the year to September 2018, 19 states ratified the TPNW, roughly three countries every two months.

Since then, only four countries have…

1 August 2019News

International fast marks anniversaries of nuclear attacks

Between 6–9 August, Trident Ploughshares is organising a series of anti-nuclear weapons actions in London. They will run in parallel with the international fast in commemoration of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

With tensions mounting between key nuclear weapon states, we are aiming to highlight the links in the nuclear chain today, as well as drawing attention to the enormous public and social cost of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system.

1 August 2019News

Campaign to get US nukes repatriated continues

On 28 June, more than 40 people from the Stop Ramstein Campaign blockaded all three gates to USAF Büchel in western Germany, where the US air force stores an estimated 20 US nuclear bombs, defying a parliamentary ban. (USAF Ramstein, also in western Germany, is implicated in US drone warfare.)

The campaigners totally blocked the base for about two hours, preventing personnel from leaving.

Police carried the blockaders off the road and conducted ID checks before…

1 August 2019News in Brief

On 10 July, Nukewatch spotted a nuclear warhead convoy heading north on the A34 near Oxford. It was taking nuclear warheads from the Burghfield nuclear bomb factory up to the nuclear bomb store at Coulport in Scotland.

The main convoy was made up of four weapons carriers, each with an armoured personnel carrier escort, a fire engine and MoD police escort vehicles.

Following was a rear support convoy which included a decontamination coach.

The convoy was…

1 August 2019Feature

In June, the Pentagon published, then hid an eye-opening military manual

Four B61 nuclear bombs on a bomb cart, USAF Barksdale, Louisiana, 1 December 1986. The B61 is a variable-yield free-fall bomb, whose explosive power can be dialled down as low as 0.3 kilotons. Photo: SSgt Phil Schmitten / US department of defense

On 11 June, the US military posted an unclassified document, updating doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons, on a public Pentagon website. The most quoted part of Nuclear Operations is this: ‘Using nuclear weapons could create…

1 June 2019Comment

Recent elections in Australia and Spain hold lessons for UK campaigners, argues Milan Rai


Climate strikers in Melbourne in March 2019. Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Why should campaigners of any kind in Britain care about the May elections in Australia? Well, because there’s an important lesson for all activists in the defeat of the Labour party there, which had an ambitious climate agenda, and which everyone expected to win. These results showed again the…

1 June 2019News

Little progress will be made on disarmament until we dismantle a basic myth about Britain's nuclear weapons, argues Milan Rai


On 3 May, George Robertson, former Labour defence secretary and former secretary-general of NATO, was interviewed about Britain’s nuclear weapons on Radio 4’s Today programme (part of the time he was debating with CND’s Kate Hudson, who has an article on p9).

Robertson said: ‘They’re not there to be used. They’re there in the absolute last resort.’

Interviewer John Humphrys pointed out that ‘we’ve only got to use them once and – that’s it’.

1 June 2019News in Brief

On 9 May, Renfrewshire council passed a resolution urging the Strathclyde Pension Fund to stop investing in businesses involved in the construction and development of nuclear weapons.

The fund, managed by Glasgow city council, has £89m invested in 11 such companies, according to Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland. (See PN 2545, 2588–2589…

1 June 2019News

David Polden surveys three recent UK peace movement actions

Here are three notable peace movement street actions that took place recently.

On 18 May, the Gareloch Hortis Women’s Peace Group took to the streets of Newcastle to make the links between their anti-nuclear campaigning and other concerns held by members of the group.

Their colourful banners attracted curious passers-by who wanted to discuss climate justice, an end to austerity and poverty, and ATOS assessments and their effect on people with disabilities. The banners…