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Nuclear Popcorn

 

A newly declassified report from the Ministry of Defence has revealed 
for the first time that a nuclear accident could result in a significant
nuclear yield. JSP 538 Regulation of the Nuclear Weapons Programme says
that where there are a number of nuclear weapons in the same vicinity
then a very low yield from the detonation of one warhead could result in
a significant yield from another warhead.

Peace Chain Around Faslane

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About 500 people formed a human chain  in a demonstration at the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde. It coincided with the 40th anniversary of the first nuclear submarine patrol from the base. It also came one year after a vote in the Scottish Parliament against the replacement of the Trident weapons system. Campaigners, many with banners, formed a human chain measuring about 2,000 metres long alongside the base's fence.

John Ainslie, the coordinator of Scottish CND, said people came from all over the country to take part. He said: "This shows that, 40 years on from the first nuclear submarine patrol from Faslane, this is still an issue people feel strongly about."

Scottish CND chairman Dr Alan Mackinnon said: "Recent revelations have shown that the cost of maintaining and upgrading Britain's Trident submarine force is escalating year by year. Next year it will be £2bn. "At a time of rising food and fuel prices, below-inflation wage settlements and a looming economic recession, most Scots want that money to be spent to improve the lives of ordinary people."

Some MSPs took part in yesterday's protest, with SNP MSP Bill Kidd, Labour's Marlyn Glen and Green MSP Robin Harper all making speeches at the start of the event. Bill Kidd, a Glasgow MSP, said: "After 40 years of weapons of mass destruction in the midst of perhaps the most populated area of Scotland, they remain unloved and unwanted by our people and our parliamentarians."

See Photos

Rosyth Waste to be Exported to Sweden

A plan to export radioactive waste from old nuclear submarines in Scotland to Sweden is coming under fire from local authorities worried about accidents and pollution. The naval dockyard at Rosyth in Fife has applied for permission to ship metal contaminated with radioactivity to a smelter near Nyköping in Sweden, run by the nuclear waste company Studsvik.

The plan is for the metal, from the decommissioning of seven defunct submarines laid up at Rosyth, to be melted, decontaminated and reused. The contaminated slag will then be sent back to Rosyth to be disposed of at the low-level radioactive waste dump at Drigg, near Sellafield in Cumbria.

The plan has been approved by the Government's green watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), and is now with Scottish ministers for a decision. But councils are angry that their concerns about the risks have been ignored.

"We find it inexplicable that Sepa should be minded to approve these shipments when options are available in the UK to manage UK waste," said Aberdeenshire councillor, Joanna Strathdee, the UK chairwoman of Kimo, a group of more than 110 local authorities from around the North and Baltic seas.

Communities to be Bribed To Take Nuclear Waste

The UK Government has offered to pay communities to provide burial sites for waste, and made clear that it would press ahead with plans to build new nuclear power stations. Areas of the UK which offer sites will become involved in a "multi-billion-pound" project which will bring benefits such as hundreds of new, skilled jobs, Ministers said.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, said: "Construction and operation of a geological disposal facility will be a multi-billion-pound high-technology project that will provide skilled employment for hundreds of people over many decades. It will contribute greatly to the local economy and wider socio-economic framework."

But critics accused the Government of offering "bribes" for taking waste which will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Greenpeace's nuclear campaigner Nathan Argent said: "Nuclear waste is a financial and geological nightmare. There is no plausible solution for our existing legacy waste, let alone the waste from new reactors, which will be at least three times more radioactive.

"This is not about finding a solution for nuclear waste. It's about bribing a community with £1bn of taxpayers' money to bury waste in their back garden. But there's no guarantee a willing community will come forward or that they'll be able to find a geologically suitable site anywhere in this country."

Emma Thompson supports Peace Chain

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Double Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson has sent a message of support for the Peace Chain around Faslane on Saturday 14 June.  In the message she says:

 

“The insanity and havoc wrought by war has recently been well demonstrated by the UK Government.  I hope it makes the insanity and potential havoc of nuclear weaponry crystal clear”.

 

Scottish actor Gerard Kelly also sent a message saying:

 

“To all in the Peace Chain, Sorry that my work commitments prevent me from being there in person today but I will be there in spirit.  It is the height of hypocrisy that we ask Iran to obey the NPT and yet our own government blatantly disregards it by commissioning a replacement for Trident.  Once again, itÂ’s do as we say, not as we do.”

 

Further information: http://www.banthebomb.org/newbombs/peacechain.htm

Report into Tireless explosion

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Scottish CND today criticised the Ministry of Defence for underestimating the potential for a catastrophic accident on a nuclear submarine, after the publication of the Board of Inquiry report into an explosion on HMS Tireless on 20 March 2007 which resulted in the deaths of two sailors.  Scottish CND had submitted a request last month for the publication of the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND said:

 

“The report  contains a graphic illustration of how difficult it is to deal with an explosion or fire on a submarine. These vessels contain a dangerous cocktail of explosive, flammable and radioactive material.  The risk of an accident on a submarine like HMS Tireless is bad enough, but it is even greater on the Vanguard class which carry nuclear weapons and Trident missiles. ”

Trident Costs Soar

Maintaining and developing the Trident nuclear warheads stationed on the Clyde is going to cost the British taxpayer a massive £18.5 billion over 13 years, according to the first official breakdown of defence nuclear spending.

New figures released by the UK Government after pressure from MPs reveal that £12.7bn of public money has been spent on nuclear weapons over the last 10 years. A further £5.8bn is planned to be spent over the next three years.

The amount of cash being poured into the UK's weapons of mass destruction is also steadily increasing, from £1.1bn in 2003-04 to a projected £2.1bn in 2010-11.. A raft of new high-tech facilities is being built at the nuclear bomb factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire.

Nuclear Decommissioining Costs Spiral

 The cost of decommissioning nuclear power stations is “spiralling out of control” after an official admission that an estimate of £73billion was set to rise. The figure, published in January, was an increase of £12billion on the previous estimate made in 2003, but a senior official at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said that he believed the cost would continue to escalate.

Director Jim Morse said: “I think itÂ’s a high probability that in the short term it will undoubtedly go up. We've still a lot to discover. We haven't started waste retrieval in those parts of the estate where the degradation and radioactive decay has been at its greatest." 

He estimated that the extra cost would run into billions but admitted that he could not be sure how much the total would be. "No-one's done this before," he added. 
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Friends of the Earth nuclear campaigner Neil Crumpton said: “Nuclear and fossil fuel power generation pose an enormous threat to the environment – and their cost to the economy is spiralling out of control.

“The UK Government must come forward with a comprehensive programme of action to cut energy waste and exploit the UK’s considerable potential for generating renewable power from wind, waves and the sun.

“The Government must seize the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in developing a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy – and create a safer and cleaner future for us all.”

McCain Promise to Cut US Nuclear Arsenal

 

John McCain has vowed to make big cuts in the US nuclear arsenal if elected president and called for Russia and China to join a global effort to tackle nuclear proliferation.

The Republican candidate called for the strengthening of existing non-proliferation deals and the negotiation of new ones, warning that the world faced no greater threat than the spread of nuclear weapons. "The cold war ended almost 20 years ago, and the time has come to take further measures to reduce dramatically the number of nuclear weapons in the world's arsenals," he said in a speech at the University of Denver.

The remarks revealed stark differences between Mr McCain and President George W. Bush on several important non-proliferation issues. Mr McCain has sought to distance himself from Mr Bush in public while relying on his help to mobilise Republican donors behind closed doors.

The Arizona senator said he would consider signing treaties long opposed by the Bush administration - including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a fresh arms reduction deal with Russia - and vowed to scrap plans to develop a controversial "bunker busting" nuclear weapon.

HMS Superb on the Rocks

 

A British nuclear-powered submarine has been damaged after hitting rocks in the Red Sea. HMS Superb hit an underwater pinnacle 80 miles south of Suez and damaged its sonar equipment, forcing it to surface.

Superb, a Swiftsure-class attack submarine with a crew of 112, based at Faslane, hit an underwater pinnacle 80 miles south of Suez.
None of the crew was hurt and the submarine is watertight, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

A full investigation is under way and a Board of Inquiry will follow.

Navy chiefs have launched an investigation after a watchman was caught drinking lager and sleeping on the job on a nuclear submarine which crashed into rocks. The Ministry of Defence said the incident on board HMS Superb was not connected to the accident in the Red Sea last week. It came to light after mobile phone footage obtained by the Sun newspaper showed a commander warning crew about safety breaches several months ago.