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Wales is no place for Trident


The Herald on 14 August said that Trident might go to Wales, if Scotland became independent. But a letter from Scottish CND, printed in the paper,argues that none of the alternative sites in Wales or England are viable. The graphic shows how the sites proposed for Polaris in 1963 would be too close to the oil and gas terminals at Milford Haven.


Letter from Scottish CND, printed in the Herald on 15 August - 


The Welsh First Minister is mistaken if he thinks there is any prospect that Trident could ever be based at Milford Haven ('Wales ready to cash in on Trident', August 14). When the Ministry of Defence were considering where to put Polaris in 1963 they ruled out Milford Haven on safety grounds, because there was one oil terminal near the proposed submarine base. Today there are five petrochemical facilities in the estuary, two of them handling highly volatile Liquified Natural Gas. It is inconceivable that the Office of Nuclear Regulation would permit a nuclear missile base to be built in Milford Haven. Trident could only go to the estuary if all the refineries and storage tanks were closed down. This would shut off one third of Britain’s gas supply and one quarter of our oil.

In a statement to the Welsh Assembly on 26 June, Carwyn Jones rowed back from his initial suggestion that the nuclear fleet could go to Wales. He was facing opposition from at least two members of his own cabinet and several Welsh Labour MPs, as well as from Plaid Cymru. There would be no welcome in the valleys for Trident.

In the early 1960s the Ministry of Defence also looked at a number of sites in England where Polaris might have been based. Scottish CND has reviewed these plans and has found that none of the options would be viable today. Devonport is in a city of a quarter of a million people and the estuary in Barrow is too shallow. Building a new nuclear missile store on a greenfield site would, like building a new nuclear power station on a greenfield site, be extremely controversial and expensive. For different reasons, the options of basing the British nuclear fleet in France or the United States are non-starters.

There is nowhere for Trident to go. This is not a reason for pessimism. It means that the future of the UK’s nuclear weapons programme is in our hands. If we eject Trident from Scotland then there will be no nuclear weapons in Britain.

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