ICAN Scottish Partner

Latest Events

Donate to SCND

Amount to donate:
£  GBP  



Select a news topic from the list below, then select a news article to read.

John Pilger's Guardian Article On Hiroshima


When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then walked down to the river and met a man called Yukio, whose chest was still etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He and his family still lived in a shack thrown up in the dust of an atomic desert. He described a huge flash over the city, "a bluish light, something like an electrical short", after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. "I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead." Nine years later, when I returned to look for him, he was dead from leukaemia.

In the immediate aftermath of the bomb, the allied occupation authorities banned all mention of radiation poisoning and insisted that people had been killed or injured only by the bomb's blast. It was the first big lie. "No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin" said the front page of the New York Times, a classic of disinformation and journalistic abdication, which the Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett put right with his scoop of the century. "I write this as a warning to the world," reported Burchett in the Daily Express, having reached Hiroshima after a perilous journey, the first correspondent to dare. He described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries but who were dying from what he called "an atomic plague". For telling this truth, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared - and vindicated.

Remembering Hiroshima

leftA series of events took place across Scotland to mark the 63rd anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb in 1945.  Alan Mackinnon (Chair SCND) and Cllr Martha Wardrop (Scottish Green Party) spoke at a vigil in Byres Road Glasgow (pictured).  14 people gathered in Edinburgh to sing, give readings and comtemplate.  200 laterns were floated on the River Dee in Aberdeen (reported in Press and Journal) and on the Garelocah in Helensburgh.  Messages were attached to a Peace Tree in Paisley. Dundee CND held their annual walk up Dundee Law. Stirling CND gathered signatures on the Scottish Peace Covenant.

Coulport Jobs to be Privatised

leftThe servicing of the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent is set to be privatised as part of a review of the armaments base on the Clyde. Almost half of the 540 jobs at the Royal Navy Armament Depot Coulport, where Trident warheads are stored and loaded on to nuclear submarines, could be taken over by the private sector after a Ministry of Defence review of the base.

The move was last night attacked by the SNP. The party's defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP, said it was the latest in a series of "highly questionable" privatisation initiatives by the Labour government.

"The SNP opposition to the nuclear fleet is absolute, but so long as the Trident system remains on the Clyde I would resist increasing privatisation," said Mr Robertson. "This is one of the most sensitive areas of military technology and there are core military services which could not and should not be privatised."

However, an MoD official said: "What we have effectively is an ageing workforce at Coulport and people are retiring and moving on. Structural changes within the Ministry of Defence mean that recruits are no longer able to pursue a career exclusively devoted to nuclear weaponry, so the Ministry fears a skills shortage."

UK Should Support Nuclear Weapons Convention


George Monbiot presents a strong analysis of the nuclear hypocrisy of many governments, our own included (Comment, July 29), but it is now vital that Britain plays a positive role in ensuring real progress is made towards multilateral disarmament. The most technically thorough and widely supported plan is embodied in the draft nuclear weapons convention, currently lodged at the UN. This provides for verifiable parallel reductions in stockpiles and a thorough inspections regime. The fact that three nuclear nations, China, India and Pakistan, are among the 127 states that support immediate negotiations on this will surprise many. But this shows the very strong diplomatic support the draft treaty has already gathered. The UK should make clear its support for this initiative, rather than maintaining the increasingly hazardous status quo.

Kate Hudson, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Letter to the Guardian 

Plutonium Shipments Stopped

Top-secret shipments of weapons-ready plutonium through British waters have been stopped, after their exposure by the Independent on Sunday. The Department for Transport (DfT) said that it had taken "regulatory action" to prohibit the shipments from Sellafield to Normandy on an unarmed old roll-on, roll-off ferry, with few safety or security features. The prohibition, the first of its kind, was imposed after complaints by the French nuclear safety authorities.

The shipments – denounced by nuclear weapons experts as "madness" and "totally irresponsible" – were carrying hundreds of kilograms of plutonium-dioxide powder, described as the ideal material for terrorists seeking to create a nuclear explosion or make a dirty bomb. Only 10kg of the plutonium, experts claim, would be needed to make a terrorist atomic weapon.

John Large, an independent nuclear expert, called it "the most dangerous and worst possible material you could ship". The first shipment – in the converted ferry Atlantic Osprey – was about to leave Cumbria for a French nuclear complex at Cap la Hague in March, when the plan was exposed in The IoS.

Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab at Sellafield


The consortium with a £20bn contract to clean up Britain's Sellafield nuclear plant has been handed a blank cheque by the Government to pay for future accidents there.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority wants the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to grant indemnity to Nuclear Management Partners Ltd.—the consortium that won PBO status in the Sellafield contract—against uninsurable claims arising from a nuclear incident that fall outside the protections offered by the Nuclear Installations Act and the Paris/Brussels Conventions.

“It would not be viable for any of the bidders to proceed without an indemnity because any fee earning benefits of the contract would be overwhelmed by the potential liabilities,” Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks informed the House of Commons..

Plans for £110m Waste Dump at Dounreay

PEOPLE living near the Dounreay nuclear plant say they will fight plans for a waste dump close to their homes, despite the scheme winning the conditional backing of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
SEPA says it supports proposals for a £110 million underground low-level radioactive waste store – the first of its type in Scotland – provided seven planning conditions are imposed to protect people and the environment.

But householders in Buldoo , Caithness, are trying to stop the construction of up to six shallow storage vaults, which they say would be outside Dounreay's licensed site and only 430 metres from the nearest house. They want a public inquiry.

The vaults would be part of the £2.9 billion decommissioning of Dounreay. Already, 38,000 cubic metres of low-level waste have been stored on the site, but storage there is nearing capacity and decommissioning will produce up to 175,000 cubic metres more. The Scottish Government has ruled out disposing of the waste elsewhere.

The site operator, Dounreay Site Restoration, applied for planning permission for the vaults in 2006 and, if approved, they could be used by 2014. The waste would be stored in drums and put inside cement-lined containers and then buried in a shallow covered pit.

New warhead for UK Trident ?

A Freedom of Information dispute between Scottish CND and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that a senior official indicated in June 2007
that the MoD were planning to acquire a nuclear warhead and missile system as part of their plan to replace Trident.

gould statement


Trident sub stops yacht race

The Navy forced competitors to abandon a classic sailing race in Plymouth  
to move a Trident submarine. Boats had just started the final leg across
the Western entrance to Plymouth harbour in race five when the Navy
instructed the fleet that they could not continue to the finish line
because they were moving a Trident submarine. The race organisers
attempted to set up an alternative finish, but this
did not comply with the rules and so the race was abandoned. The
race was for Dragon class boats built before 1972.
(BYM sailing and sports news)

Victorious to return to Faslane


The Trident submarine HMS Victorious has been relaunched after a 3 year refit and refuelling at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth. The vessel is expected to sail to Faslane shortly. (reported in the Plymouth Herald)

After returning to Faslane the submarine will take part in trials and crew training over several months. It will then sail to Port Canaveral in Florida, load one or two missiles and conduct a missile test firing.  It will then go to the US Trident base at Kings Bay Georgie and load up with its compliment of missiles. At the end of this it will return to the Clyde. The warheads will be loaded onto the missiles in the Explosives Handling Jetty at Coulport. Once the submarine is fully armed with 48 nuclear warheads it will be sent on patrol.  This is due to start later in 2008.