A more secure world?


‘If some nations – including the most powerful militarily – say that they need nuclear weapons for their security, then such security cannot be denied to other countries which really feel insecure. Proliferation of nuclear weapons is the logical conclusion of this nuclear policy’  (Professor Joseph Rotblat – nuclear physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner).

The indefinite combination of nuclear weapons and human fallibility will lead to a nuclear exchange. (Robert McNamara - former US Defence Secretary)


I find these statements by two people who well understood the effects of nuclear weapons very convincing and worth emphasising to people who see such weapons as essential to our security. The very first UN Resolution in January 1946, unanimously adopted by the General Assembly, set up an Atomic Energy Commission which was given the job of eliminating from national arsenals nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction.

My personal view is that as campaigners we need to work for non proliferation as well as campaigning to get rid of Britain’s nuclear weapons. I am sure very few people really believe that if 30 countries had nuclear weapons the world would be a safer place and yet that is the direction in which we are heading. The parallels may not be exact, but sadly every day we see examples of the fact that the more weapons a community owns the less safe its members are. The nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of 1970 of course stated that the nuclear powers would get rid of their weapons as their part of the bargain. Sometimes even radio pundits seem quite hazy about this.

An independent deterrent?


Our wonderful secretary Noel Hamel sent me the following piece by Dan Plesch. Many of you may have seen it but I find it helpful to remind myself of these facts occasionally:


The UK deterrent is carried in four Vanguard-class submarines that were designed and built in Britain, incorporating US components and reactor technology. The delivery system is the Trident D-5 missile which is designed, made and stored in the United States.  The firing system is also designed and made in the US. So is the guidance system. The computer software is American. The warhead design is based on the US W-76 bomb. The warheads are produced by Aldermaston, which is co-managed by the US firm Lockheed Martin and uses a great deal of US technology. Some vital nuclear explosive parts are imported, we now know, from the US as are some non-nuclear parts. The warhead factory is a copy of a facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The submarine maintenance base is also 51 per cent owned by Halliburton of the US.


One could argue that far from making us independent our nuclear dependence on the US has helped to mould Britain’s foreign policy to fit with US policy.

These are some of the issues which took us to Aldermaston on 10 April to join Block the Builders and other protesters outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Our government has only just voted to sanction the replacement of the Trident system but none the less building started quite a while ago and large new structures can be seen behind the fences. Good people locked together stopped the traffic and the rest of us held banners and placards. I do think it’s worth reminding those who work at AWE and those who live nearby that nuclear weapons do not make us more secure or independent.


Mary Holmes