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Alarm as US Considers Resumption of Nuclear Weapon Testing

Scottish anti-nuclear campaigners have reacted with alarm at the news that the US is considering a resumption of the live testing of nuclear weapons as a further sign of the roll-back of global nuclear arms control measures.

Live testing of nuclear weapons by the US ceased in 1992. There were tests by India and Pakistan until 1998. Since then the only live tests have been by North Korea, most recently in 2017. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was adopted by the UN in 1996 but has failed to acquire the necessary state ratifications (including that of the US) to enter into force. Since the cessation of live tests the US and the UK have relied on computer modelling. To date, computer modelling has been assumed to be adequate for testing the validity of the weapons, leading to the suggestion that the US announcement is a political move. The announcement adds to concern around the erosion of nuclear arms control measures. 

Lynn Jamieson, chair of Scottish CND said:

"It is chilling to see the hard-won restraints on nuclear weapons being deliberately struck down by the current US administration. Posturing about nuclear testing makes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty the latest treaty in line for provocative disregard. A new Cold War is too tame a description for their reckless conduct. As COVID-19 and climate change remind us, the world is an interconnected system - any nuclear exchange threatens all life on Earth. The risk of global disaster is so great and so continuous that the only sane response is the total elimination of nuclear weapons. There is a route-map for that - the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons."

Emma Cockburn, SCND's Campaign Worker said:

"While healthcare providers are being pushed to breaking point across the world and hundreds of thousands of people have died due to the pandemic, the nuclear states continue to pour billions into nuclear weapons, increasing global instability and blatantly ignoring the ongoing climate emergency. Our world is on fire and people are drowning and the last thing we should be considering is the threat of nuclear winter and even more poisoned land from testing. It is time we redirected our focus from military power to tackle these threats to humanity and put people and planet first." 

CONTACT: Lynn Jamieson - 0797 4631 397, Emma Cockburn - 0746 0856 568

Nuclear Convoy on Roads during Pandemic Emergency

Scottish CND has learned from Nukewatch UK that the MoD is today transporting nuclear weapons from the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex in Berkshire to the atomic weapon store facility at Coulport on Loch Long, in spite of the COVID-19 crisis.

The MoD routinely moves nuclear warheads (each with the destructive power of eight Hiroshima bombs) to and from Burghfield and Coulport for maintenance and refurbishment. The warheads are stored at Coulport and loaded there onto the US-leased missiles on the Trident submarines. In the road convoy, huge warhead carriers are supported by up to twenty other police and ancillary vehicles, with at least 50 personnel involved. This raises the additional concern about transferring COVID-19 risk to and from the Scottish bases, which are already known to have infection.

Chernobyl Disaster - 26th April 1986

This year, the 26th April 2020 was the 34th anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the most disastrous nuclear power plant incident in history, both in terms of costs and casualties. A series of human errors during a safety test led to a power surge, an explosion and a massive radioactive fire which raged on for ten days at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. This explosion led to the one-thousand-tonne concrete roof being blown off the reactor and a plume of radioactive contamination being spread throughout Europe. In the UK, the worst-hit areas were there was rainfall as the Chernobyl plume passed overhead.

Click to read the rest of this article.

Military Stand-Down During COVID-19 Emergency

Scottish CND Backs Calls for Military Stand-down During COVID-19 Emergency

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has given its backing to the call from many sources, including the UN Secretary-General, for a global ceasefire while the world grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, and supports the call from the Peace Pledge Union for military budgets to be diverted to tackling coronavirus and related problems caused by job losses, poverty, mental ill-health and isolation. 

The Peace Pledge Union initiative follows on the 23rd March statement by the UN Secretary-General who said:

"The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lock-down and focus together on the true fight of our lives."

There is support for a universal truce from many countries, including the UK, France and Germany, as well as human rights groups, charities and the Pope, with the blockage coming mainly from the US and Russia.

Scottish CND Chair Lynn Jamieson said:

"As the extent and gravity of the pandemic become clearer by the day we have to hope that more governments across the world will begin to respond to public pressure and listen to Gutteres and the others who are asking for a step back from war. We are also calling for a step back from preparations for war and for the reallocation of military funding to the socially useful functions we so urgently require. 

In these dangerous times, it is becoming more and more obvious to more and more people that preparing for and making war has nothing to do with keeping us safe but everything to do with squalid profit and macho political posturing. The UK's nuclear weapon submarines are not only utterly malign in their intention and their wastefulness but are also about as useful as a chocolate teapot. 

Unlike that exceptional Christmas Day Truce in 1914 on the Western Front when for a brief interval basic common sense and humanity prevailed, we have much more of a chance to permanently stop the needless squandering of resources and lives. It is vital that this time we do not return to our trenches and let the hideous business-as-usual continue as before."

Close Torness and Block Hunterston Restarts

COVID-19: Call on Office for Nuclear Regulation to Close Torness and Block Hunterston Restarts

In the light of concerns over adequate staffing levels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Scottish CND is urging the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to order the shutdown of the Torness nuclear generation plant and refuse to allow the restart of reactors 3 and 4 at Hunterston B.

In a letter to the ONR's Chief Inspector Mark Foi, SCND Chair Lynn Jamieson asks what percentage of the workforce is COVID-19 affected and what percentage is self-isolating. She points out that concern is intensified by the news that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is willing to consider COVID-19 a possible reason for overlooking failures to meet regulatory requirements concerning discharges of radioactivity into the environment, as an indication that the regulatory framework as a whole may be prioritising business as usual over public safety.

Lynn Jamieson said:

"We know that Scotland's electricity supply can be maintained without Torness and without restarting the troubled Hunterston reactors. At a time like this why should we gamble with the safety of the whole central belt of Scotland by running reactors known to have serious faults, and operating with critically reduced staffing rosters? Given the gravity of the risks in such operations, along with the pressures of the current crisis, the ONR must take its responsibilities seriously."

Ceasefire! - Brian Quail

The following letter was written by one of our members, Brian Quail to the national media here in Scotland.

Dear Sir,

While we are all much concerned about the impact of coronavirus here, we should try to imagine the effect it will have when it hits the Middle East and Africa. The people living in war zones or in refugee camps there lacking a medical infrastructure, face a future that can only be described as apocalyptic.

It is for this reason, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, has called for a global ceasefire. He says "refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives."

This appeal must resonate in the hearts of all people of goodwill - in spite of the deafening silence from the media. It can be signed individually online, but we must also demand that the UK Government formally gives its support too. It can demonstrate this by stopping CASD (continuous-at-sea deployment); Trident should be tied up, pending its demolition.

The UK can display real moral leadership by being the first of the nine rogue nuclear states to break ranks and support the TPNW (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) agreed by 122 countries in July 2017. 

Tragically, I have little hope that the British Government will take this brave step and let go of its nuclear comfort blanket. Its emotional attachment to this ultimate symbol of political status is obdurate. And all unionist parties are as one in their loyalty to British nuclear idolatry.

Having the freedom and the power to make these liberating advances can only come with political independence, and is an irrefutable reason for demanding this.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Quail

The Hexham Debates - Janet Fenton

Hexham is probably known, if at all, to Scots as an interesting wee place from which to explore the old Roman wall. The Hexham Debates started in 2007, initially as a response to Parliament's plans to replace Trident, and initiated by Trident Ploughshares' Caroline Westgate through her local Quaker Meeting in Hexham. 

Bruce Kent was one of the first 'debaters' and the events were very popular and went from strength to strength for more than a decade. One reason they proved so popular is that they were/are designed not to be adversarial. They explore topical issues in a non-confrontational context. The debates were inspired by the Putney Debates of 1647 which aimed to explore how England might be following the Civil War, with an invited speaker making a longer than usual presentation of their views and then an open but respectful discussion or 'probing' of the ideas presented and one important aim is to demonstrate ways in which a government's legitimacy depends on the consent of its citizens, and our responsibilities as citizens in that context.

The debates have been well attended, albeit mostly by Northumbrians. Obviously, they are not happening live due to Covid-19, which gives a great opportunity in the form of an invitation. Rather than taking place at St Mary's Church Hall, the Hexham debates will now happen live online via Zoom on Saturdays from 11:00am - 12:30pm. The same exciting speakers, the same lively discussion! The March debate was on Extinction Rebellion and the next one in April is on Refugees.

You can find out more about the Hexham Debates and how to get involved via the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/hexhamdebates/

https://hexhamdebates.wordpress.com/

We are all doing our best during these turbulent times and by getting involved in digital campaigning we can keep our spirits high and our message clear.

 

Windows for Peace Placard making challenge

Schools are closing and we're to stay home as much as we can to help in these difficult times, but we are not to avoid each other or be alone - not in the broader sense.

Now with an underfunded NHS, we see the true cost of Trident.

We are inviting you to join our placard making challenge and display it on your window. Whether you are a parent with kids to keep busy, a pensioner with time on your hands or working from home to protect yourself and your family, please get some markers, cardboard, glue and other materials and unleash your inner crafter and protestor. Post your photos on social media using hashtag #windowsforpeace, #protestfromhome #ScotlandnotTrident.

If you do not have social media channels send you photos to our email address.

If you have not joined our Facebook and Twitter pages (@Scottish CND) please follow us. We have other activities planned.

Beyond Nuclear Conference - POSTPONED

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO AUTUMN 2020 - APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED 

Helensburgh CND have organised a conference to discuss the worrying developments at the Hunterston Nuclear Power Station and the alternatives available on 4th April 2020 in Glasgow. All our members and supporters are invited to attend.

Outer Space is the Next Frontier for War - Dave Webb (CND UK)

CND UK chair Dave Webb has written for the Morning Star about the alarming developments in space weapons technology. 

The article is copied below but you can also read on the Morning Star website here.

It may have been lost among all the fuss about impeachment, but on December 20 President Donald Trump signed the US National Defence Authorisation Act for 2020, rubber-stamping a record defence budget of $738 billion.