Nuclear Weapons

1 June 2015Review

Oberon Books, 2015; 96pp; £9.99; Vaudeville Theatre, London, 27 March – 23 May 2015

Tom Morton-Smith’s newly-commissioned play for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) – the story of a great figure brought low by a fatal flaw – has something of the classical tragedy about it.

Watching a previous dramatisation of the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ (the BBC’s seven-part series Oppenheimer, first broadcast in 1980), some reviewers could believe that the defect lay in physicist J Robert Oppenheimer’s early communist sympathies, his adultery and his post-war…

1 June 2015Feature

A WW1 Tommy looks at nuclear warfare

Originally published by Leicester CND as a booklet. More copies of this poster are available from Peace News on 0207 278 3344.

20 April 2015Blog entry

I'm one of 14 young people from different parts of the UK, most with a Quaker background or who had worked for Quakers, who formed a group called Wheel Stop Trident in early 2015.

Our first significant action was a 75 mile bike ride from central London to Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield from 27-28 March 2015, to protest against the possible renewal of our useless and immoral Trident nuclear weapons system at a time when the more genuine, sustainable security of strong public services and renewable energy are facing massive cuts and obstacles respectively. Nine or us were cyclists (a tenth cyclist was prevented from joining us by illness), and the others helped…

31 March 2015Feature

PN's editor reflects on the choices facing activists before and after the May 2015 election.

Time to Act on Climate Change marchers sit down in The Strand, London,
21 March 2015. Photo: Milan Rai.

Two of the most important things the next British government will do are: take part in the Paris climate negotiations in December, and decide on the replacement (or not) of the Trident nuclear weapon system next year.

On both issues, smaller, more progressive parties like the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru are likely to have a bigger impact…

31 March 2015News

A brief report-back from the Nuclear Information Service's 'Trident Strategy Day'

The best bit of the Nuclear Information Service ‘Trident Strategy Day’ in London on 5 February (above), writes Milan Rai, was probably hearing Janet Fenton (Scotland for Peace) and Brian Larkin (Trident Ploughshares/Scrap Trident Coalition) on what’s happening in Scotland and how it might stop Trident being replaced. There were over 40 activists, analysts and lobbyists sharing ideas and activities. Photo: PN

31 March 2015News

Angie Zelter reports on a musical action

On 11 March, 14 singers from Wales, London and Corby sang Trident – A British War Crime: An Oratorio in the lobby hall of the house of commons in London, writes Angie Zelter. The singers used the right to lobby MPs by singing for 15 minutes rather than speaking. The sergeant at arms told us that we could possibly get official permission to perform the oratorio in the houses of parliament. Photo: Action AWE

31 March 2015News

Picaroon action hits Faslane

Jean Oliver, Janet Fenton and David MacKenzie from the ‘Peaton Peace Pirate’ (PPP) wing of Trident Ploughshares were arrested on 2 February after committing the dastardly deed of pinning a set of ‘Pirate Peace Articles’ to the fence around the Faslane naval base where Britain’s Trident nuclear missile submarines are housed.

The articles stated that the PPPs were committed to disarming the UK nuclear fleet by nonviolent methods, and cited international law in support.

31 March 2015News

Welsh choir blockades Burghfield

On 24 January, as part of a UK-wide protest at the cost of Trident, CND Cymru and radical choir Côr Cochion were joined at the Royal Gwent Hospital by activists from across Wales. Patients and visitors joined in, and choir singing was accompanied by toots of support from passing motorists.

As part of a month of action against Trident in the lead up to the election, Côr Cochion were in action again at Burghfield in March.

The choir blockaded the South gate of the nuclear bomb…

31 March 2015News in Brief

Action AWE organised a month of nonviolent action against British nuclear weapons in March, starting with Burghfield Lockdown (see Wales page), and including bike action by ‘Wheel Stop Trident’, cycling from London to the Burghfield nuclear weapon factory.

In Germany, a coalition of groups are organising a 65-day nonviolent blockade of Büchel nuclear weapons base in western Germany, from 26 March to 29 May (when the nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference is due to end…

1 February 2015News

44 states press for nuclear disarmament

Nuclear weapons should be banned. That was the view expressed by 44 of the 158 states attending the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December.

The host nation, Austria, took this one stage further at the end of the conference by publicly pledging to seek a treaty to ban the Bomb. Austria called on all parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to ‘identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination…

1 February 2015News

Five go adventuring in Faslane

On 17 December, five Trident Ploughshares activists painted ‘Scrap Trident, Ban Nukes’ onto the fence around the Faslane nuclear base north of Glasgow. Mary Millington, Gillian Lawrence, Janet Fenton, Barbara Maver and Brian Quail (left to right) were the campaigners taking on Britain’s only nuclear weapons base, home to the UK’s four Trident nuclear submarines. The Scrap Trident coalition is planning a demonstration in Glasgow on 4 April, and a ‘Big Blockade’ of Faslane on 13 April. Photo:…

1 February 2015News

Trident could be deal breaker in event of hung parliament

In December, the three women leaders of Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party of England and Wales (Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennett) agreed to join forces to oppose billions being wasted on the replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system, calling instead for investment in communities, creating jobs and rebuilding the economy.

In the event of a hung parliament in May, with these three parties together…

1 February 2015News

Thousands surround MoD to launch CND's general election campaign

3,000 peace activists hold a giant ‘peace scarf’ in Whitehall.
Photo: Dan Viesnik

On 24 January, activists from across the UK gathered in London to protest against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. Protesters encircled the ministry of defence and other government buildings with a colourful ‘peace scarf’, knitted in 2014 by thousands of activists from across the globe for the ‘Wool Against Weapons’ campaign. The scarf will now be turned into blankets and sent to areas of…

25 November 2014Feature

Can we stop the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system?

Trident submarine. Photo: Paul O’Shau/MOD

Different groups are using different strategies to try to make an election issue out of Trident replacement. The British decision on whether/how to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system is scheduled to be made in 2016, which means the 7 May 2015 election will elect the government that takes this £100bn decision. This has been described as ‘a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to scrap Trident and ban all nuclear weapons’.


25 November 2014Review

Black Dog Publishing, 2014; 304pp; £24.95

In the summer of 1946, ‘more than half the world’s supply of motion picture film... was loaded aboard US Army Air Force planes and dispatched to Bikini Atoll’ where it was used to photograph Operations Able and Baker – the second and fourth nuclear bomb explosions respectively – generating over a million still images and several million feet of moving image matter.

Some of these pictures are reproduced in this collection of essays and photographs, which ranges widely over the last…