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Recalling Britain's Shameful Nuclear Anniversaries

October is a month of terrible anniversaries in Britain. Last week, on October 3rd, we marked the shameful moment when, in 1952, the United Kingdom became the world's third nuclear power, after detonating an atom bomb off the Montebello Islands in Western Australia.

Throughout the 1950s, the UK continued to test nuclear weapons in so-called 'remote' areas of Australia. The environmental devastation, and enormous damage done to human health and life, is still being felt today, especially by the indigenous people who lived close to the source of the blast.

The parade of deadly anniversaries continues this week. October 10th marks the day that fire broke out at Windscale nuclear plant (now Sellafield) in 1957 - an incident which narrowly avoided devastating the Lake District, and which is now blamed for at least 240 cases of cancer.

The Windscale Fire should stand as a warning that even nuclear power plants can be deadly. If you missed last week's newsletter, click here to read about the threat that Hunterston B power station still poses to hundreds of thousands of us in Scotland, and share your #ShutDownHunterstonNow photos on social media to join our online protest.

Our past casts a long shadow, and some of the challenges we face today are eerily similar to the nightmares of the 1950s. Did you know that "New START" - the treaty between Russia and the USA which provides for some measure of arms control - will expire this February, and talks to renew it are foundering?

The challenges are immense, but there is also hope. The world stands on the brink of ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - an international agreement that would - fully, finally - ban the bomb. The importance of this moment cannot be overstated. Here, in Scotland, we must seize this opportunity to call for an end to nuclear weapons - out of Scotland, out of Britain, out of the world.

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