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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.

The US/UK Warhead Deal

As first seen on http://www.nuclearban.scot/, the website for Scottish ICAN partners.

It is important to note that the missiles on the UK nuclear weapon submarines are not British but are leased from the US. Indeed the UK does not have the facility to remove the missiles from its four Vanguard-class boats - that needs to be done at King's Bay in Georgia. The delivery and targeting software is US made. The Trident warheads - the actual nuclear bombs - have been manufactured and assembled at the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex in Berkshire but the design is American, although the evidence suggests that some design elements have depended on collaboration between the US and the UK nuclear weapon engineers. Not a sniff of "taking back control" on this one. The UK describes its Trident system as an "independent nuclear deterrent". The description is false.

Write to SEPA to oppose radioactive waste disposal from HMNB Clyde

 

We would like to invite our members and supporters to submit their comments of disapproval to the SEPA consultation on MOD’s application regarding the disposal of radioactive waste from Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde.

The Nuclear Support Hub (NSH) which the MoD is building at Faslane is intended to centralise the existing radioactive waste handling facilities. It is situated in a new location within the Faslane site, with a new discharge point into the middle of the Gare Loch. The number of nuclear submarines at Faslane is scheduled to increase and radioactive discharges are, in fact, expected to increase some by very large amounts. MoD is seeking approval to transfer submarine and weapon related solid and contaminated liquid waste from Coulport to Faslane

We strongly object to these increased radioactive discharges which, if permitted by SEPA, would result in increased radioactive contamination of the entire Gare Loch, including its flora and fauna and would result in increased radiation doses to people living in the vicinity of the Loch.

Scottish CND see no good reason why the MOD should be given preferential treatment and be exempt from the provisions already in place for all the other employers. The MoD’s application involves expected increases in discharges of Tritium by as much as 30 times and discharges of Cobalt 60 by almost 50 times.