Nuclear weapons

1 December 2023News in Brief

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is trying to block the planned deployment of new US nuclear weapons at USAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, England.

CND is using planning law to challenge related development works at Lakenheath on the grounds that the ministry of defence (MoD) and West Suffolk council have not assessed the environmental impact of a planned 144-bed dormitory or the possible effects of stationing nuclear weapons at the airbase.

More info, plus resources for CND…

1 October 2023Review

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023; 138pp; £37.50  

Concise, accessible and well-referenced, this is a wonderful book about a protest I wasn’t previously aware of.

Vincent J Intondi, professor of history at Montgomery College in Maryland, USA, sets the scene: surrounded by ‘advisors who believed nuclear war was a reasonable option to deal with adversaries’ in the early 1980s newly-elected US president Ronald Reagan massively increased both military spending and his warmongering rhetoric.

In response, the anti-nuclear movement,…

1 October 2023News

Four-day gathering in Bristol

In August, Bristol CND and XR Peace Bristol organised their fourth four-day Peace Gathering in the Peace Glade in Castle Park, Bristol, with over 20 talks, workshops and discussions – and die-ins to mark the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.

Included in the Gathering was part of an International Fast to Commemorate Hiroshima-Nagasaki.

Fasters in Bristol included Matthias Engelke from Germany (a Lutheran pastor who has vowed…

1 October 2023News in Brief

In August, there were over 20 arrests at Volkel airbase in the southern Netherlands, home to 15 US nuclear bombs.

On 8 August, 10 climate activists and peace activists were arrested after climbing over the fence and protesting on the runway.

On 9 August, 15 protestors were arrested after picking up pink spades with the intention of digging under the fence, to create a more accessible route to protest inside the base.

The arrested, all released the same day, came from…

1 October 2023News

Nationwide day of action as evidence grows that US priming Lakenheath for new guided nukes

A Citizens Weapons Inspection (CWI) team from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) gathered outside USAF Lakenheath on 23 September, with the aim of searching the base for nuclear weapons.

This followed growing evidence that the US air force is priming Lakenheath for the deployment of the new B61-12 guided nuclear bomb as part of a mass upgrade of US nuclear infrastructure in Europe.

The inspection was part of a nationwide day of action against US nuclear weapons in…

1 October 2023News

Bahamas signs anti-nuke treaty

On 19 September, the Bahamas officially signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), sending a signal of support, and Sri Lanka officially acceded to the treaty, meaning that it agreed to be bound by the TPNW, a much more serious step. (Usually countries ‘sign’ first and then ‘ratify’, but some countries skip the signing and go straight to the commitment level in one step: ‘accession’.)

This means that 97 states have now signed, ratified or acceded to the 2017…

1 August 2023Feature

Churchill believed there were two non-atomic ways of bringing about a Japanese surrender

The Hollywood blockbuster, Oppenheimer, is having a massive opening weekend as I write these words.

The central event of the film is the ‘Trinity’ test on 16 July 1945, when scientists set off the world’s first nuclear bomb.

One of the less well-known effects of the test was its shattering impact on the wartime British prime minister. Winston Churchill was told about Trinity while he was attending the Potsdam conference in Germany with US president Harry Truman and…

1 August 2023Feature

Join PN in shining a light on shocking UK policies

Some 30 years ago, a British defence secretary told the world that Britain wanted to be able to launch a ‘limited nuclear strike’ at an enemy in order to deliver ‘an unmistakable message’ of its willingness to defend its ‘vital interests’. That was Conservative MP Malcolm Rifkind, on 16 November 1993, admitting some nuclear ‘credibility’ problems.

His words become clearer if we turn back to the 1991 war on Iraq, where one of the big surprises was that the Iraqi dictator, Saddam…

1 August 2023Feature

Reactions from two major peace groups to the NATO summit  

The leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, 11 – 12 July.

This underlined NATO’s growing involvement in the US military confrontation with China in ‘the Indo-Pacific’. The end-of-summit statement (the ‘communiqué’) said: ‘The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.... We are working together responsibly,…

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…