nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

North Korea’s nuclear weapons not able to reach Britain

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea admits ‘our nuclear weapons aren’t a threat to the UK’, Mirror UK, , 22 JUL 2016, [good pictures and video] 

The rogue state claimed that Theresa May’s comments on the nuclear threat that Kim Jong-un poses were “absolutely astonishing”. North Korea has admitted that its nuclear weapons CAN’T reach the United Kingdom. Pyongyang said that claims made by Theresa May on the threat it poses were “absolutely astonishing”.

A statement from the North Korean foreign ministry said: “It is illogical that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to the UK.

“It is a pity that the UK makes an excuse for the building of [nuclear submarines] by finding fault with the DPRK, thousands [of] kilometres away from it.”

Prime Minister May was making the case for renewing Britain’s Trident missile defence system when she pointed out that the UK must be prepared to act should it come under attack. May added: “We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts which would put our country in grave danger.”

However North Korea responded: “The DPRK does not regard the UK’s nuclear weapons as a threat to it.

“Therefore, the UK has no need to regard the DPRK’s nukes as a threat to it.”………http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/north-korea-admits-our-nuclear-8469712

July 23, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Politics trumps good sense as EDF prepares to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear project

handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PAHinkley Point C nuclear project expected to get go-ahead next week EDF likely to greenlight construction of power plant in Somerset, providing boost to UK government amid Brexit fallout, Guardian, , 23 July, The Hinkley Point C nuclear project is poised to get the go-ahead from EDF next week in what will be a major boost to a new government trying to steady nerves on the economy after the British vote to leave the European Union last month.

A board meeting of the French energy group on Thursday 28 July is expected to give a final investment decision in favour of building new reactors in Somerset despite internal divisions over the £18bn scheme.

The decision has been repeatedly postponed, partly because of pressure from trade unionists on the board of the partly state-owned French group who claim EDF cannot afford the cost and risk of such a massive project in the UK.

But Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, has the support of the British government to press ahead with a scheme that represents an important shop window for selling nuclear technology and expertise worldwide.

EDF said it would discuss Hinkley Point C (HPC) – which involves building two so-called European pressurised reactors (EPR) – at its forthcoming board meeting and underlined the importance of building in Britain. “The HPC project is a major element of the group’s … strategy. The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point would strengthen EDF’s presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.”

EDF would not publicly commit itself to a decision in favour of the project, but nuclear industry sources said all company preparations were being made as if it was a done deal. “We are all expecting the go ahead next week,” the sources said.

The timing could not be better for the UK government, which regards Hinkley as a flagship energy scheme despite criticism from the City about its massive cost.

EDF insists it can build the project for £18bn but a complex system of subsidies agreed by the former chancellor, George Osborne, could cost the consumer up to £37bn, according to a recent estimate published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) website………

Critics remained vocal. “It’s right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.

“A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn’t yet been shown to work.

“For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.”………https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/22/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-project

July 23, 2016 Posted by | France, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Priority to remove Wylfa nuclear waste

Oscar-wastesRemoving Wylfa nuclear plant’s radioactive fuel ‘priority’, BBC News, 22 July 2016

The push to recover used radioactive fuel from the last nuclear power station of its kind is under way.

Wylfa nuclear plant’s last reactor was turned off after 44 years at an outage ceremony on Anglesey in December.Workers have spent the past six months putting decommissioning plans into action, including a new safety regime.Removing 800 tonnes of spent Magnox fuel will now be the “dominant” focus over the next three years, officials have said.

“Once we are fuel free, over 99% of all the radioactivity on the site will have left,” said Gordon Malcolm, deputy site director at Wylfa. “Then the whole site moves on to the next phase of work, preparations for care and maintenance… which will last for the rest of this century.”

Spent fuel from Wylfa will be taken to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing, before much of the site is cleared, leaving just the reactor buildings and fuel stores.

According to officials, 99% of the fuel used to power Reactor One remains on site after it was shut down last year.On top of this, 60% of the old fuel used in Reactor Two until it was closed in 2012 is also at Wylfa………

Site staff also have one eye on developments next to their plant, where there are plans for a new nuclear plant built by Japanese-owned Horizon Nuclear Power.

The Wylfa Newydd developers are still waiting for approval to use their design for a new reactor and hope to submit planning applications in 2017. In the meantime, Horizon has been carrying out preliminary site investigations,including a seabed study…….http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-36836836

July 23, 2016 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Scottish independence a sure thing, now that UK govt will renew Trident nuclear missile system?

 flag-ScotlandTrident renewal ‘assures Scottish independence,’ says navy whistleblower William McNeilly https://www.rt.com/uk/351814-trident-renewal-william-mcneilly/  18 Jul, 2016 As Prime Minister Theresa May convenes Parliament on Monday to debate renewing Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent, Royal Navy submariner-turned-whistleblower William McNeilly tells RT renewal coupled with Brexit will force Scotland to seek independence.

“They rushed the European vote. Now they want to rush the Trident vote,” said McNeilly.

“Those who support the Trident system lack vision. They talk like they are the ones who want to defend the UK. The truth is they are the ones who will destroy the UK if they get their way.

“Voting to leave the EU, then voting Yes on Trident, will guarantee Scottish independence.”

In May 2015, McNeilly, 27, leaked a report exposing 30 safety and security failures documented over his three-month tour on board one of Britain’s Vanguard submarines. Narrowly escaping jail for the leak, he was dishonorably discharged, returning home to his native Belfast.

McNeilly says renewal will lead to the splintering of the United Kingdom, squander hundreds of billions of pounds, and offer terrorists a vulnerable target.

“Scotland is aiming to get another vote [for independence] and these people want to force the Scottish people to keep Trident. The Trident supporters are on the verge of breaking up the UK with this Trident vote, just like they broke up Europe.

“The majority of Scotland want Trident removed. If they force the Scottish people to keep a nuclear system that is damaging their land and sea, putting their lives and land at risk, costing them an absolute fortune … then the majority of Scotland will vote Yes to leave the UK.”

Already spoiling for a second referendum on Scotland’s independence in the wake of the Brexit vote, in which a majority of Scots voted to “Remain” in the EU, McNeilly believes the Scottish National Party (SNP) will see a vote in favor of Trident’s renewal as the final straw.

“The Better Together campaign were able to secure a No vote in the last [independence referendum] because they used the European Union as leverage. Now the Scottish National Party are the ones who will use the European Union as leverage.

“Trident is the fuel the Scottish National Party needs for an independence vote… the Scottish National Party is striking its matches.”

If Scotland leaves the United Kingdom, the government “will have nowhere to put the submarines and will be forced to spend countless more billions on building a base for them or moving them or looking like complete fools by scrapping them after destroying our unity.”

July 22, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK submerged nuclear submarine collides with merchant vessel off Gibraltar

exclamation-Smsubmarine,-nuclear-underwatUK nuclear sub collides with merchant vessel off Gibraltar Rt.com 21 Jul, 2016 One of Britain’s newest Astute-class submarines has docked at Gibraltar after suffering a “glancing collision” with a merchant vessel, the UK Royal Navy announced, emphasizing that the HMS Ambush suffered “absolutely no damage” to her nuclear reactor

The incident happened at around 1:30pm local time on Wednesday, when HMS Ambush was “submerged and conducting a training exercise” off Gibraltar, the Royal Navy said in a statement.
The Astute class nuclear submarine suffered “some external damage”, with the Royal Navy reassuring the public that“absolutely no damage” had been inflicted on its nuclear reactor……https://www.rt.com/uk/352391-uk-nuclear-submarine-collision/#.V5AzHNfAKp8.facebook

July 22, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Spain, UK | Leave a comment

Cumbria demands huge investment to support Moorside nuclear project

Tax - payersflag-UKHuge investment needed to support Moorside nuclear project, say council, News and Star,  21 July 2016  CUMBRIA’S council leaders say any new nuclear facility built in the county must be accompanied by huge investment in the area’s key infrastructure – such as the road and rail network.

During a meeting at today’s Cumbria County Council cabinet meeting leader Stewart Young said that the authority needed the Government or NuGen – the firm behind the new Moorside development in west Cumbria – to stump up cash in advance so work can can begin…….

“The sheer scale of this nuclear project is unprecedented for Cumbria and in fact unprecedented for the UK. To ensure that everyone benefits we need a guarantee from Government or NuGen or both of extensive additional investment into services like the county’s infrastructure, such as roads, railways and port, as well as accommodation for the workforce, and the development of skills to ensure that as many jobs as possible are taken by Cumbrians.”

The call was made as part of the council’s formal response to the consultation into the Moorside project…… The formal consultation process ends on July 30. http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/latest/Huge-investment-needed-to-support-Moorside-nuclear-project-say-council-731df4b0-d076-4d29-86f7-2eea67a2e265-ds

July 22, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Anti Trident nuclear protests in 36 Scottish cities, towns and villages,

protestThousands take to streets as Scotland voices its opposition to “ghastly” Trident submarine-missileweapons, Herald Scotland,  Andrew Whitaker, 17 July 16, IN what was thought to be the biggest national peace demonstration north of the Border since the last Iraq war, more than 10,000 Scots have taken part in anti-Trident protests ahead of tomorrow’s Commons vote on renewing the nuclear weapons system.

Anti-Trident protests were held yesterday (Sat) in 36 Scottish cities, towns and villages, with locations including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Dumfries and Largs, which were all organised within days of it being announced the Westminster vote would take place.

Armed forces veterans, anti-war campaigners, students, parents and their children carrying anti-nuclear banners and singing pro-peace songs sent a clear message to MPs that Scotland was overwhelmingly against renewing the Trident system, which the Ministry of Defence estimates will cost £31bn over 20 years.

The Scottish Scrap Trident coalition, which organised the demonstrations, said events in areas such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Paisley attracted hundreds, with others protests also held in Largs and Cromarty.

Coalition spokesman David Mackenzie suggested that the demonstrations were among the biggest since the 2003 Iraq war, and said: “Early calculations indicate that this is one of the biggest public demonstrations in Scotland for many years, showing just how people outraged people feel about this ghastly business.”………http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14624176.Thousands_take_to_streets_as_Scotland_voices_its_opposition_to__quot_ghastly_quot__Trident_weapons/

July 20, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

UK and Germany of backtracking on the spirit of the Paris climate deal, funding fossil fuels

hypocrisy-scaleflag-UKflag_germanyUN criticises UK and Germany for betraying Paris climate deal
Climate change envoy singles out both countries for subsidising the fossil fuel industry and says the UK has lost its position as a climate leader,
Guardian, , 18 July 16, Ban Ki-moon’s climate change envoy has accused the UK and Germany of backtracking on the spirit of the Paris climate deal by financing the fossil fuel industry through subsidies.

Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and UN special envoy on climate change and El Niño, said she had to speak out after Germany promised compensation for coal power and the UK provided tax breaks for oil and gas.

Governments in Paris last year not only pledged to phase out fossil fuels in the long term but to make flows of finance consistent with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“They’ve [the British government] introduced new tax breaks for oil and gas in 2015 that will cost the UK taxpayer billions between 2015 and 2020, and at the same time they’ve cut support for renewables and for energy efficiency,” she told the Guardian…..

The criticism comes as Theresa May’s government has come under fire at home and abroad for its leadership on climate change after it abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Senior figures such as the outgoing UN climate change chief have urged the UK not to abandon its climate commitments as it leaves the EU. “Let us remember that the Brexit vote was not about climate change,” said Christiana Figueres.

Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green party, said: “This damning indictment of the UK’s energy policy comes just days after our new prime minister scrapped the Department of Energy and Climate Change and appointed an environment secretary who has consistently voted against measures to tackle climate change.

“I urge Theresa May to listen carefully to Robinson’s remarks and start reversing the damaging policies put in place by her predecessor – like giving tax breaks to fossil fuel companies while cutting subsidies for renewables.”

Robinson said that while Germany had made some positive steps such as aiding developing countries on climate change, it was sending mixed messages.

Germany says its on track to end coal subsidies by 2018 but the German government is also introducing new mechanisms that provide payment to power companies for their ability to provide a constant supply of electricity, even if they are polluting forms, such as diesel and coal,” she said. She called on Germany to make a real commitment to get out of coal.

But she said her criticism was far from limited to the two countries. “We want all countries to end [fossil fuel] subsidies,” she said…..

The likely US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has said he would try to unpick the deal, but Robinson said if it was ratified by the US this year “unwinding it would be very prolonged and difficult. I sincerely hope we won’t be facing that problem.”

However Hillary Clinton would be good on climate because she had been pushed by Bernie Sanders to adopt an ambitious climate change platform, she said.

Robinson said she been to Ethiopia recently and seen firsthand the way manmade climate change was exacerbating natural climate phenomenons such as El Niño, which brings drought to some parts of the world, and flooding to others. “I saw so many malnourished children, and it’s not tolerable.”…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/18/un-criticises-uk-and-german-for-betraying-the-spirit-of-the-paris-climate-deal

July 20, 2016 Posted by | climate change, Germany, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Parliament votes to renew Trident nuclear missile system

atomic-bomb-lflag-UKCommons votes for Trident renewal by majority of 355  Over half Labour MPs but not Jeremy Corbyn back motion after Theresa May says she would order nuclear strikeGuardian, 

Theresa May has said she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike that could kill 100,000 people, as the House of Commons voted overwhelming to replaceBritain’s Trident programme.

The prime minister confirmed she would be prepared to press the nuclear button if necessary as she opened a debate about whether the UK should spend up to £40bn replacing four submarines that carry nuclear warheads.

After more than five hours of discussion, parliament voted in favour of Tridentrenewal by a majority of 355 in a motion backed by almost the entire Conservative party and more than half of Labour MPs.

It was opposed by all Scottish National party (SNP) MPs, the Lib Dems and Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong unilateralist who spoke out strongly against the plans during the debate.

Other members of Corbyn’s frontbench team, including the shadow defence secretary, Clive Lewis, and the shadow foreign affairs secretary, Emily Thornberry, abstained after claiming in a Guardian article that the government was turning an issue of “national security into a political game”.

However, around 140 of his MPs – including leadership challengers Angela Eagle and Owen Smith – voted in favour of renewing Trident, with many highlighting Labour’s historic position in support of a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. Forty-seven Labour MPs joined Corbyn in voting against Trident, while another 41 were absent or abstained.

While Labour were split on the issue, the Conservatives have been hoping the Trident issue could help unify their party after a fractious EU referendum campaign.

However, May attracted gasps during the debate when she made clear she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike killing 100,000 people, when challenged by the SNP about whether she would ever approve a nuclear hit causing mass loss of life……. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/18/mps-vote-in-favour-of-trident-renewal-nuclear-deterrent

July 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Teresa May would approve a nuclear weapon strike on a population

flag-UKTheresa May would authorise nuclear strike causing mass loss of life Asked in Trident debate if she would approve attack that could kill 100,000 people, PM answers with a decisive ‘yes’,Guardian, , and , 19 July 16.  Theresa May has said she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike killing 100,000 people as she made the case for replacing Britain’s Trident submarines ahead of a House of Commons vote on the matter.

The prime minister answered decisively when challenged by the Scottish National party about whether she would ever approve a nuclear hit causing mass loss of life.

Intervening in her opening speech, the SNP MP George Kerevan asked: “Is she personally prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that can kill a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children?”

atomic-bomb-l

May responded: “Yes. And I have to say to the honourable gentleman the whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to know that we would be prepared to use it, unlike some suggestions that we could have a deterrent but not actually be willing to use it, which seem to come from the Labour party frontbench.”

Her statement was met by gasps from some MPs on the opposition benches, as the chamber debated whether or not to renew Trident.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, responded to May by making the case for nuclear disarmament, pointing out that the party’s pro-Trident position was under review.

He has given his MPs a free vote during Labour’s ongoing defence review, which the Guardian understands involves at least five options ranging from complete replacement to disarmament by the 2030s. The three other options are reduced patrols and fewer submarines, missiles carried by aircraft, and adapted submarines to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.

Speaking in the Commons, Corbyn said there were currently 40 warheads, which are each eight times as powerful at the atomic bomb that killed 140,000 people at Hiroshima in Japan in 1945.

“What is the threat we are facing that one million people’s deaths would actually deter?” he said, adding it did not stop Islamic State, Saddam Hussein’s atrocities, war crimes in the Balkans or genocide in Rwanda.

“I make it clear today I would not take a decision that kills millions of innocent people,” Corbyn told MPs. “I do not believe the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to deal with international relations.”

May said it would be a “dereliction of duty” to give up Britain’s nuclear deterrent and pledged to keep to the Nato target of spending 2% of national income on defence while she is prime minister.

Addressing the idea of downgrading the deterrent to a cheaper option, she said: “I am not prepared to settle for something that does not do the job.”……https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/18/theresa-may-takes-aim-at-jeremy-corbyn-over-trident-renewal

July 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

18 July British Parliament to vote on renewal of Trident nuclear missile system

submarine-missileflag-UKBritish MPs to vote on renewing nuclear deterrent on July 18   MENAFN – Muscat Daily – 13/07/2016  Warsaw–   Britain’s parliament will vote this month on renewing the Trident nuclear weapons programme, Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday as he sought to reassure NATO allies alarmed by Brexit.Cameron’s announcement at a NATO summit in Warsaw comes as the alliance grapples with the implications for its unity after key member Britain shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union.Conservative leader Cameron is pushing through the vote on the A20 billion (23 billion euro, 25 billion) plan to maintain the submarine-based system before he steps down in September in the wake of the EU result.”Today I can announce that we will hold a parliamentary vote on the 18th of July to confirm (lawmakers’) support for the renewal of a full fleet of four nuclear submarines capable of providing around-the-clock cover,” Cameron told a press conference at what will be his final NATO summit after six years in power……

Cameron is likely to win the Trident vote as his party widely backs it.The leader of the main opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn has opposed the upgrade but a significant part of his increasingly rebellious MPs are also likely to support it.The future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent is however in question as the submarines are based in Scotland, where the government is considering a second independence referendum following the Brexit vote.Asked why he was pushing through the vote before handing over to his as-yet-undecided successor, Cameron said it was a pledge in his party’s 2015 election manifesto “and we need to get on with that.””I don’t think it needs to be caught up in the leadership contest (of the Conservative party) and we will be doing it on the 18th of July,” he said….http://www.menafn.com/1094852840/British-MPs-to-vote-on-renewing-nuclear-deterrent-on-July-18

July 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Illegal to use Trident nuclear missile, so it should be phased out

justiceflag-UKUsing Trident would be illegal, so let’s phase it out https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/trident-illegal-nuclear-britain-arsenal Geoffrey Robertson, 15 July 16 
Nuclear doom is nearer than most of us believe, experts warn. Britain must set a moral lead by becoming the first of the ‘big five’ powers to reduce its arsenal 
  The most portentous decision for every new prime minister is what to write in the secret “letter of last resort” to Trident submarine commanders telling them what to do with their nuclear missiles if the British government is wiped out. In Monday’s debate on the renewal of Trident, Theresa May should tell parliament what life-or-death decision she has made in her letters of last resort.

It is said that Margaret Thatcher ordered our nukes, trained on Moscow, to be fired so as to cause maximum destruction to the enemy – ie to its civilians. That order, even for a nuclear “second strike”, would today be illegal.

It is ironic that although Chilcot produced so much condemnation of Blair for joining an unlawful war, MPs are now being asked to vote for a weapons system that cannot be used without committing a crime against humanity. This was defined in 1998 by the Rome Statute, which set up the international criminal court, as “a systematic attack directed against a civilian population, resulting in extermination or torture, or an inhumane act intentionally causing great suffering”.

The same statute additionally makes it a war crime to intentionally launch an attack in the knowledge that it would cause incidental loss of civilian life or severe damage to the natural environment, out of proportion to military advantage.

Trident’s 200 thermonuclear bombs, each 10 times more powerful than those that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are illegal because they cannot discriminate between military targets and hospitals, churches and schools; because of their capacity to cause untold human suffering for generations to come; and because their consequences (eg ionising radiation, which tortures victims and lingers for half a century) are beyond the control or knowledge of the attacker, who cannot judge the proportionality of their use.

submarine-missile

As the international court of justice put it, back in 1996: “The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilisation and the entire ecosystem of the planet.”

So why is our law-abiding government spending tens of billions on a weapons system that cannot lawfully be used?

First, because its advisers wrongly think that nuclear weapons are legal in certain circumstances. Back in that 1996 case, the UK argued that it could lawfully drop “a low-yield nuclear weapon against warships on the high seas or troops in sparsely populated areas”.

This scenario has now been shown up as fantastical: “first use” in these circumstances by the UK would trigger a nuclear reprisal with inevitable damage to the atmosphere, the oceans and the “sparsely populated” area (which would henceforth be entirely unpopulated). In any event, Trident’s weapon-bays will not carry “low-yield” bombs, and if they did the result would be better achieved by conventional weapons, making nuclear deployment unnecessary and disproportionate.

The world court ruled that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would “generally” be contrary to war law but might be lawful “in extreme circumstances of self-defence, in which the very survival of a state would be at stake”. This was a time-warped view of war law in 1996 that is not tenable today. The court, to be fair, predicted as much, saying that it expected international law to “develop” towards a total ban on the use of the bomb. It soon did, with the Rome Statute and subsequent development of the principle that a state has no right to preserve itself at the expense of damage to other states and to the rights to life of millions of citizens.

It is absurd to suggest that it would have been lawful for Hitler, his back to the bunker wall, to start a nuclear Götterdämmerung to save the Nazi state (Nuremberg decided it was not lawful for him even to fire doodlebugs). Given what we now know about the uncontrollable and devastating propensities of modern nuclear weapons, it is unlawful to fire them at all.

There is a further legal reason for allowing Trident to wear out. It is Article VI of the nuclear proliferation treaty (NPT), by which parties undertake to proceed in good faith to “general and complete” nuclear disarmament.

The world court’s 1996 ruling decided that this imposed not a “mere” obligation but a binding legal obligation on existing nuclear states to reduce the number of their bombs gradually, to zero. It is contrary to the spirit of article VI to upgrade rather than downgrade the fleet.

A decision to phase out Trident would help Britain recover some of the clout it has lost through Brexit. It would show moral leadership, and shame other nuclear powers that have failed to live up to their NPT obligations (especially the US; President Obama’s Nobel prize was prematurely awarded in part for envisaging “a world without nuclear weapons”).

Moral leadership from a nuclear-weapons state is urgently needed. The latest US defence budget allocates $1tn for future modernisation of its nukes and it has acquired new sites for them, in Poland and Romania. President Putin has promised in return a new generation of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. The American most knowledgeable on the subject – Bill Clinton’s defence secretary William J Perry – has just published a book warning that “nuclear doom” is closer today than it ever was during the cold war.

Although possession of nuclear weapons is not per se unlawful, the UK is under a duty to reduce its arsenal: the vice of refurbishing Trident is that it encourages other states to do the same, and remains a constant stimulus for countries – particularly in the Middle East and Asia – to acquire arsenals of their own.

When negotiating to buy Polaris (Trident’s predecessor), back in 1962, Harold Macmillan confided in his diary that “the whole thing is ridiculous”, but consoled himself with the thought that “countries which have played a great role in history must retain their dignity”.

A half-century later, the best way for Britain to regain its dignity post-Brexit is not to throw vast sums of money away on a weapon that cannot lawfully be used, but rather to appear as the first of the “big five” powers to shoulder its legal obligation to disarm under article VI of the NPT. It will be many years before the mushroom cloud becomes a hallucination, but at least Britain would be able to boast that it had led the way.

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Legal, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK does not want to move nuclear weapons from Scotland

poster-cut-Trident‘No plans’ to move nuclear weapons from Scotland, BBC News, 15 July 2016
The UK government does not intend to make alternative plans for the storage of the UK’s nuclear weapons outside of Scotland, it has emerged.

The Scottish government opposes the Trident missile system and the storing of nuclear weapons in the country.

On Monday, MPs will vote on whether or not to renew Trident, which is based at Faslane on the Clyde.

No contingency plans for moving Trident were put in place in the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence vote. The Scottish government had pledged it would get rid of nuclear weapons if Scotland voted to leave the UK.

The MoD has said it was not anticipating another referendum and Faslane is the best place for the weapons to be based.

After the UK referendum vote to leave the EU, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was now “highly likely”…….http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-36800543

July 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Conservatives could, and should, shut down useless Trident nuclear deterrent

Trident II USG photo of UK subflag-UKThe Tories know Trident is a waste of money and only they can kill it off, Guardian Chris Mullin, 15 July 16  Our nuclear deterrent is purely symbolic but Labour would never be forgiven for letting it go A
few days from now parliament will be asked to make a final decision on whether or not to spend around £40bn renewing Trident. Many of the Labour MPs arguing in favour do so not because they regard nuclear weapons as an essential tool in our armoury, but because they are terrified of being thought “soft” on defence. And they are right to be worried. For years the British addiction to nuclear armaments has proved a devastating weapon in the hands of the Conservatives and their friends in the tabloid media, even if they are not much use against our enemies.

And yet just about anyone who has ever given the matter any thought knows it’s bonkers. Most Tories know in their heart of hearts that Trident is of little or no relevance to national defence in the 21st century. So, too, do a fair swath of the military. Indeed, our possession of nuclear weapons was never primarily about defending us from the Russians. On the contrary, it made us a target.

One has only to read the minutes of a top-secret cabinet subcommittee on 26 October 1946, at which the fateful decision to develop a nuclear arsenal was taken. Opinions were divided. The chancellor, Stafford Cripps, was against on the grounds that they were a luxury we couldn’t afford. Ernie Bevin, the foreign secretary, arrived late having nodded off after a good lunch. “What’s your opinion, Ernie?” he was asked. To which Bevin replied: “We’ve got to have that thing over here, whatever it costs … we’ve got to have the bloody union jack flying on top of it.” Why? Because, said Bevin, the Americans will never take us seriously, if we don’t.

And that in a nutshell is why British taxpayers have been saddled for 65 years with an expensive, but fundamentally useless weapons system.  It is about keeping up appearances. Maintaining the pretence that we are a superpower, capable (to use a phrase much beloved by successive British prime ministers) “of punching above our weight”. …….https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/14/tories-trident-waste-money-nuclear-deterrent-symbolic-labour

July 16, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Teresa May’s backward step in abolishing Climate Change Department

flag-UKClimate change department closed by Theresa May in ‘plain stupid’ and ‘deeply worrying’
move 
Campaigners called for ‘urgent reassurance from the new government’ that the fight against climate change and pollution will not be ‘abandoned’ Independent  Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent , 15 July 16 The decision to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change has been variously condemned as “plain stupid”, “deeply worrying” and “terrible” by politicians, campaigners and experts.

One of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was to move responsibility for climate change to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Only on Monday, Government advisers had warned of the need to take urgent action to prepare the UK for floods, droughts, heatwaves and food shortages caused by climate change.

The news came after the appointment of Andrea Leadsom – who revealed her first question to officials when she became Energy Minister last year was “Is climate change real? – was appointed as the new Environment Secretary……..

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas described the decision as “deeply worrying”.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and it must not be an afterthought for the Government,” she said.

“Dealing with climate change requires a dedicated Minister at the Cabinet table. To throw it into the basement of another Whitehall department, looks like a serious backwards step.”

She said she would work with any Minister “willing to take climate change seriously”, but added she would seek to hold Government to account for “any backpeddling on our climate change commitments”.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, pointed out that a major report into the effects of climate change on Britain had made clear that it was already happening.

“This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” he said…….

A letter by DECC’s permanent secretary, Alex Chisholm, to staff in his department, which was leaked to Civil Service World, confirmed that its responsibilities were being transferred to the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, under its new Secretary, Greg Clark…….http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-department-killed-off-by-theresa-may-in-plain-stupid-and-deeply-worrying-move-a7137166.html

July 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

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