Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
 
   
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Environmental Issues

Uranium is the essential chemical for nuclear weapons. It was discovered in the 18th century and is the heaviest metal that occurs in nature. It is an unstable material which gradually breaks apart or "decays" at the atomic level, giving off invisible bursts of penetrating energy called "atomic radiation". It also produces more than a dozen other radioactive substances as by-products.

The mining of uranium causes radioactive pollution of the atmosphere. Further pollution occurs during the transport and processing of the uranium. The manufacture and testing of weapons involves the leakage of nuclear material. Even placing tests underground does not avoid atmospheric pollution. Many square miles in Russia, Belorussia and the US have been rendered unusable by contamination of the soil. The Irish Sea and the Arctic Ocean have also been poisoned.

Britain's store of weapons at RNAD Coulport is a constant risk to our environment. If there was an accidental explosion enormous damage could result. Accidents have already taken place, for example at Windscale in 1957, Three Mile Island in 1979, and Chernobyl in 1986 (Scottish hill farms still effected by Windscale and Chernobyl).

In a submarine carrying missiles armed with nuclear warheads the proximity of nuclear fuel, nuclear bombs and highly explosive missile fuel means that an explosion short of a nuclear explosion could lead to the dispersal of radioactive material over a wide area. Since some nuclear materials remain active for thousands of years, the disposal of old weapons and submarines is a great problem for us and probably for the generations to come.

Nuclear warfare would result in the wholesale destruction of the environment.


For information on uranium see:
World Information Service on Energy

An information and networking centre for citizens and environmental organisations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
A discussion group on uranium
ANAWA
The Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia are a non-profit community group campaigning for an end to the nuclear industry and the adoption of safe energy strategies.