Politics

Jeremy Corbyn refused to promise Labour would keep all four Trident submarines on Saturday as the party’s nuclear stance descended into chaos. During a BBC interview Mr Corbyn said his party was “committed to Trident”, but refused to specify whether that meant renewing each of the four nuclear submarines required to maintain a presence as sea at all times. He said: “Included in our manifesto is absolute commitment which is given by the party and given by me that we will also pursue multilateral disarmament through the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that is a position that has been held for a long time by the party.” But when asked if he was committed to renewing the four submarines Mr Corby simply said: “It is clear what is said in the manifesto.” It came after senior Labour figures clashed over the party’s commitment to Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry indicated the party’s support for Trident could not be guaranteed after a defence review if Labour wins the General Election. But shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith promptly contradicted her, saying Ms Thornberry was wrong and the policy was not her responsibility.

Telegraph 20th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Nuclear Convoys

A vehicle in a convoy carrying nuclear warheads broke down in the middle of a motorway, sparking fears for public safety. The weapons, which have a blast range of 600m, were being transported on the M40 between Birmingham and London when they were forced to come to a stop.

Mirror 17th May 2017 read more »

Daily Record 18th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Submarines

The Trident vessels’ computers run the Windows XP operating system which was targeted by hackers. Cyber-security experts now fear the boats are vulnerable to a similar attack. Navy insiders have mockingly dubbed the ageing computer system “Windows for Subs”. Microsoft discontinued the 16-year-old system in 2014, meaning security updates are no longer available.

Daily Star 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Submarines

Officials have packed up the first container of spent nuclear fuel from the notorious Andreyeva Bay submarine maintenance yards in Northwest Russia, which for decades has been a source of anxiety over its Cold War nuclear legacy.

Bellona 17th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2017

Nuclear Weapons

The Labour Party manifesto has now been published. Its policy on nuclear weapons states: Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. As a nuclear-armed power, our country has a responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Labour will lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world This will come as a huge disappointment to many voters and CND supporters. Labour’s policy on nuclear weapons is in accordance with the status quo, representing no change from what has gone before. At a time when a majority of countries are supporting a fresh initiative at the UN to negotiate a nuclear ban treaty, it is very disappointing that the Labour Party has made no reference to engaging with this process. There is a glimmer of hope from Labour’s planned Strategic Defence and Security Review.

CND 17th May 2017 read more »

A vehicle in a convoy carrying nuclear warheads sparked safety fears when it broke down on the M40. Campaign group Nukewatch said the transportation signalled a “disturbing disregard for public safety”. An escort vehicle travelling with the convoy, which was carrying four nuclear warheads, was forced to stop on the hard shoulder of the M40 near junction nine at around 11am on Monday.

Birmingham Mail 17th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2017

Nuclear Testing

Between 1946-1996, more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the US, UK, Soviet Union, France and China. Most of these took place in locations selected on the basis of colonial history, and in lands belonging to indigenous peoples. As well as devastating costs to their health and environment, many affected communities still live with the social, cultural and economic consequences of these tests. Subjected to forced displacement, they lost their land and connection to that land forever. Many were prevented from pursuing their traditional livelihoods. Not everyone was compensated, and those affected reported a lack of official accountability.

Independent 16th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 May 2017

Nuclear Weapons

Twice in seven days the U.S. shot nuclear-capable long-range missiles toward the Marshall Islands, but the same government refused in March to join negotiations for a new treaty banning nuclear weapons. Tests conducted April 26 and May 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Lompoc, California, launched modernized Minuteman-3 ballistic missiles, and the U.S. Air Force said in a statement that such tests ensure “the United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security…”

Ecowatch 8th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 May 2017

Trident

Jeremy Corbyn has a truly humane and decent approach to international relations and that showed through this morning in his Defence and Foreign Policy address at Chatham House. With an emphasis on conflict prevention, conciliation and justice, he certainly outlined a vision of how Britain could behave differently in the world, and begin to make a real difference. But there are some areas which still require rethinking, for without further policy change taking place, a Labour-led Britain, trying to pursue a different role in the world, would eventually hit a brick wall. One is, of course, the question of nuclear weapons. It was good to hear Corbyn say that a Labour government would adopt a ‘no-first use’ nuclear policy – although how that will work when Trident is assigned to NATO which apparently imposes a first use policy, it’s hard to say. On being questioned about Trident replacement from the audience, Corbyn pointed out that it had been approved by parliament and that a Labour government would include it in a Strategic Defence Review. In other words, Labour retains its pro-Trident policy. That’s no surprise because we all know the issue has been ‘parked’ – off the agenda in the Labour Party – primarily due to opposition from a couple of trade unions. The Trident review that had been undertaken within the Labour Party has never seen the light of day.

CND 12th May 2017 read more »

Though the party’s manifesto has committed to Trident renewal, Corbyn, a lifelong unilateralist, has long refused to say whether he would use the UK’s arsenal (and, indeed, has said he would not). Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, who has said she would, was not invited to the event and did not contribute to drafting the speech (seeing it for the first time at 11pm last night). At her insistence, a manifesto section warning any prime minister to be “extremely cautious about ordering the use of weapons of mass destruction” was removed.

New Statesman 12th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 13 May 2017

Aldermaston

On Monday workers at the Atomics Weapons Establishment (AWE) were out on strike for the 16th time since November as part of long-running pensions’ dispute. More than 700 workers are striking, with further strike days already called for the 10th and 18th May. The workers, represented by Unite the Union, are opposing plans to cut their pensions. Their pension scheme was apprently protected during the privatisation of AWE in the 1990s. After AWE chose to ignore a counter-proposal submitted by Unite on April 13th, the union called strikes on the 10th and 18th May, coinciding with the regulatory ‘site exercise’ day when AWE runs through nuclear incident scenarios on site with local councils. Research undertaken on behalf of the Nuclear Information Service by Tom Youngman shows that the Lockheed-Serco-Jacobs consortium has extracted almost twice as much profit over the lifetime of their contract than the figure claimed for the deficit in the pension scheme. The factsheet can be downloaded below.

Nuclear Information Service 8th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 May 2017

Nuclear Weapons

Western countries are ill-prepared for the aftermath of a nuclear war or catastrophic meltdown, an expert specialising in the impacts of fallout has warned. It comes amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea over the latter’s dogged pursuit of its nuclear and missile programmes, in defiance of UN sanctions and international pressure. Both Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have indicated support for expanding their nuclear arsenals.

Independent 11th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 12 May 2017