Nuclear Weapons

1 April 2017News

UK nuclear power driven by military demands - SPRU

Peter Smith of Stop Hinkley. Photo: Alun Williams

On 11 March, a conference entitled ‘Green Nuclear-Free Wales’ drew more than 60 delegates to the National Library in Aberystwyth on the sixth anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster (in March, a Japanese court ruled that state negligence contributed to the triple meltdown).

Speakers in Aberystwyth included the former chief electrical engineer for Hinkley Point, Peter Smith, who critiqued nuclear industry safety…

1 April 2017Letter

In his column, ‘As I Please’ (PN 2600–2601), Bruce Kent mentions Stanislaus Petrov, who saved us all from nuclear war by refusing to believe the evidence on his computer of a US nuclear attack on Russia – and was reprimanded for it!

The story is one of several in Jim McCluskey’s booklet The Nuclear Threat, Intolerable and Avoidable Accidents, Misjudgements, and Mega Foul-ups, published in 2009.

I have a dozen copies and would love to give them away!…

1 February 2017News in Brief

An unarmed British Trident missile went wildly off-course during a test in June 2016, and was destroyed off the coast of Florida, US sources told CNN on 23 January, following a report in the Sunday Times.

This information was not given to the house of commons before it voted to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system in July.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: ‘A missile veering off course is deeply concerning. Imagine such a failure…

1 February 2017News

No case to answer for nuke protestors

On 14 December, the trial of five Quaker protesters ended on its first day because the police sergeant who arrested the five failed to state in his testimony that he held a ‘reasonable belief’ that aggravated trespass had occurred. The judge stated there was no case to answer and acquitted the whole group.

Ellis Brooke, Hannah Brock, Gillian Lawrence, John Lynes, and Sam Donaldson had pleaded not guilty, and decided on a defence that their right to freedom of belief was enough…

1 December 2016News

Welsh peace activist visits Japan

Ian Bell adds peace cranes in Hiroshima. PHOTO: Rory Bell

Aberystwyth and the city of Hiroshima were symbolically linked when a local peace activist visited the Japanese city on 26 October. Wishing for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons, Ian Bell brought paper cranes from the peace tree in Aberystwyth to The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Sadako Sasaki, who was two years old when the world’s first atom bomb was dropped over the city of…

1 December 2016News

Landmark resolution could trigger new treaty

27 October was a truly historic day. We voted in the European parliament calling on all UN member states to support the UN general assembly resolution on nuclear security and non-proliferation. This landmark resolution, which would trigger a new treaty banning all nuclear weapons, was adopted with a large majority by the UN general assembly that same day.

International negotiations are set to start in March 2017 with a conference to discuss a ‘legally binding instrument to…

1 December 2016Feature

Global nuclear-weapons-free zone could hinder US military

Here’s the good news from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – from a Scottish internationalist campaigner.

The decision to hold the conference was taken at the annual meeting of the first committee of the UN general assembly, which deals with disarmament and international security.

The vote on 27 October supported the holding of a conference to ban nuclear weapons by 126 countries to 38. There were 16 abstentions, including China, India and…

1 December 2016News in Brief

On 14 November, members of two unions, Prospect and Unite, picketed the Atomic Weapons Establishments at Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Workers held the 24-hour strike because of a threat to replace pensions based on an employee’s career earnings with pensions based on stock market performance and staff contributions.

The company’s contribution to pensions would go from 26 per cent of an employee’s salary to nine per cent.

The move breaks a promise made by the…

1 December 2016News

Campaigners challenge nukes in court

In October, two women presented anti-nuclear arguments to Reading magistrates’ court, but were convicted for their actions during the June month of direct action at Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield.

On 14 October, Mary Millington pleaded not guilty to painting ‘No more deadly convoys’ on the road without permission, and ‘going equipped’ to cause criminal damage. When she was arrested on 28 June, police took two cans of spray paint and bolt croppers from her.

Mary…

20 October 2016Blog entry

An interview with Daniele Santi – secretary general of the Buddhist peace group, Senzatomica.

PN: What is Senzatomica?

Daniele Santi: Our aim is to raise public awareness about the threats of nuclear weapons and to empower each individual to speak out for a world free of nuclear weapons. In order to create an unstoppable force for peace, we launched a touring exhibition, believing that it is people’s right and duty to speak out.

Since we started in 2011, hundreds of thousands of people have visited over 70 exhibitions organized in towns and cities across Italy…

1 October 2016News

Cath Bann looks at the background to the upcoming demos at Fylingdales and Croughton

On 1 October, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is organising a major protest simultaneously at RAF/USAF Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors and at USAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

Fylingdales is a US ballistic missile early warning radar base and could initiate a nuclear response to a missile attack. As part of the US missile defence system, it is also a component of the US nuclear strike force. At Croughton, the US will be spending £200m to turn the base into…

1 October 2016News

What are the risks posed by the UK's nuclear bomb convoys?

On 14 September, a convoy of 20 vehicles left the nuclear weapon maintenance plant AWE Burghfield in Berkshire, England, to begin its long journey up to Coulport in Scotland, the base of the UK’s Trident missile system. On the way, the convoy, carrying nuclear warhead components, would drive past cities, towns and villages, schools, hospitals and workplaces, and share the roads with other trucks and lorries, buses, bikes and cars.

It’s unlikely that people living in these…

1 October 2016News

77-year old retired teacher blocks warheads

Police remove Brian Quail from under escort vehicle of nuclear warhead convoy, 16 September. Photo: Nukewatch

On 16 September, 77-year old retired teacher, Brian Quail stopped his second nuclear warhead convoy, this time at Raploch, near Stirling in Scotland. Brian and fellow activist Alasdair Ibbotson flagged the lead truck down, slowing it down. Alasdair lay in front of the second truck, which had stopped, and Brian crawled underneath it. They held the convoy up for 15 minutes…

1 October 2016News

Waterborne protest marks bomb anniversary

On 9 August, there was a large waterborne protest, involving 33 activists in two yachts and 13 kayaks, at the only Trident submarine base for the US Pacific fleet, the Kitsap-Bangor naval base near Seattle, Washington state. The activists marked Nagasaki day by sailing and paddling the entire length of the Bangor waterfront where nuclear warheads and Trident missiles are loaded onto submarines, and where submarines are resupplied for ballistic missile patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

1 August 2016News

Red lines, sea monsters & mad hatters join month of action

A Trident submarine from Knighton blocks a gate to AWE Burghfield on Wales Day, 15 June. Photo: Zoe Broughton

Work to upgrade a key part of Britain’s nuclear weapons infrastructure was dealt a major setback in June, after activists managed to keep the ‘Construction Gate’ at AWE Burghfield closed for a whole month.

Situated a few miles south-west of Reading, Burghfield is where the nuclear warheads on the current fleet of Trident submarines were manufactured. It is also where…