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Nuclear Club Should be Abolished - George Shultz

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The mastermind of the US Cold War policies, former US Secretary of State George Shultz says he believes nuclear weapons are 'immoral'.

''They are all wrong,'' 87-year-old George Shultz, architect of the Ronald Reagan administration's foreign policy, said.

''These weapons come to be unusable by civilized people and with the spread of nuclear weapons and the threat of them falling into the hands of terrorists, I think the concept of deterrence deteriorates.''

Shultz believes the best option is to ''change the scene so that having a nuclear weapon is a problem for countries, not a boon to them...the nuclear club should be abolished and anybody who has a nuclear weapon is the enemy of mankind, so let's get rid of them.''

 

Scottish Government's Trident Working Group

leftThe Scottish Government has set up an expert group to investigate how best to get rid of nuclear weapons.

The group, to be chaired by Bruce Crawford MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business, is seen by many as a crucial step towards making Scotland a nuclear-free nation.

The group includes religious leaders, academics, activists, a lawyer and a trade unionist - has been given the task of finding legal, planning, regulatory and diplomatic ways to block the plan to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system on the Clyde

Bruce Kent on CND's 50th Anniversary

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When CND launched with a mass meeting in Central Hall Westminster on the 17th February 1958 it was with the backing of some prominent British figures.

In fact CND grew out of discussions within the pages of the New Statesman magazine. Among early supporters were novelist J B Priestly, politician and journalist Michael Foot, historian AJP Taylor and Canon Collins - then Dean of PaulÂ’s Cathedral.

The first of the Aldermaston marches took place at Easter 1958. In subsequent years those marches went not to Aldermaston but from the nuclear bomb factory to central London, until they came to ended in the late 1970s.

The new movement touched a national chord and rapidly grew, with branches all around the country. The campaign was largely  focused on the Labour Party. That was because CND's leadership and many of its supporters believed if Labour could be persuaded to give up aspirations for a British nuclear bomb, then this example would set in motion a worldwide shift in attitude about nuclear weapons. Global abolition was the goal with a unilateral British example showing the way to the two superpowers.

Dounreay In Another Cover -Up

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THE UKAEA has denied trying to keep industry regulators in the dark about a glitch which occurred during the clean-up of a ntaminated shielded cell at a Dounreay waste-handling plant.

The problem occurred when clean water was accidentally fed into the cell in the currently mothballed cementation plant which processes intermediate-level waste from the site's decommissioning.

The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate – part of the Health and Safety Inspectorate – is unhappy not to have been told about the incident by the UKAEA. The first it knew about the incident was in an anonymous tip-off a week or so after it happened.

An unplanned £4 million-plus clean-up was mounted after the accidental spill of a quantity of highly-active waste in the cell in September 2005. The leak of about 400 litres of the water into the sump of the cell was spotted on August 20 last year.

Bush wants More Cash for Nukes

While much of the world is working toward nuclear disarmament, the Bush Administration has 
asked Congress to fund the first new U.S. nuclear weapons in two decades and requested
additional funding to build a new nuclear bomb making plant.
The budget makes military spending and the Iraq war its focus, proposing a 7.5 per cent increase
for the Pentagon. Military expenditure will top $515bn – plus $70bn more for the conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan. The President's Annual Budget requested $10 million for the Reliable
Replacement Warhead (RRW) program and $100 million to begin construction on a new plutonium pit
facility.

"This administration just doesn't seem to get the message. Congress and the people of this country do not want these new weapons," said Devin Helfrich, a lobbyist on nuclear disarmament for the Friends Committee on National Legislation,

UK Offers to Host Disarmament Conference

The UK Government has offered to host a conference of all five recognized nuclear weapon states to address the difficult technical challenges of verifying nuclear disarmament.

British Defence Secretary of State Des Browne made the offer at a speech to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva..

"For the first time, I am proposing to host a conference for technical experts from all five recognized nuclear states, to develop technologies for nuclear disarmament," Des Browne said.

"At the center of this offer are the skills and expertise of UK(United Kingdom) scientists at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. Those skills will form the basis of pioneering technical research into nuclear disarmament - to become a 'nuclear disarmament laboratory'," he said.

Sellafield's Facilities are a Shambles

A shock Report, by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate  reveals that Sellafield's .facilities for handling nuclear waste are a shambles and that its safety procedures for preventing accidents – which could kill hundreds of thousands of Britons – are "not fully adequate".

After reprocessing, highly dangerous radioactive liquid waste is concentrated through evaporation and stored above ground in 21 giant steel tanks before being "vitrified" – bound into glass for disposal. But the Report shows that every stage of this process is in crisis.

Two of the three evaporators have been shut due to safety problems, and there are continuing "difficulties" with vitrification. But the most alarming issue is the failure of equipment needed to cool the waste, which could, at worst, lead to an explosion, scattering radioactivity across much of the country. Studies suggest that for every tank that exploded 210,000 people would die from cancer.

The Report also reveals "poor housekeeping standards" in the waste stores, that vital safety inspections are "not fully effective", and it condemns "lack of focus" on "emergency arrangements and fire safety".

Sellafield accepts the Report's findings, but says it has "strengthened management arrangements" and made "improvements" to the plant. This fails to impress the independent nuclear expert John Large, who said: "The Government wants to build new nuclear power stations, but the backend of the process, which deals with their waste, is a shambles."

Nuclear Decommissioning Costs Soar

The cost of decommissioning ageing nuclear power sites has risen "rapidly" in the past few years by £12bn to £73bn, according to an official report.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said costs were rising, even for the most imminent work. It said the industry faced "significant challenges".

Greenpeace says the uncertainty makes building more reactors "reckless".

The estimated £73bn cost of decommissioning the UK's old nuclear sites is 18% higher than an estimate given in 2003.

The NAO report said the sum partly reflected "a more complete assessment of the range of work needed to be done".

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said while there was a better idea about "the scale of the task", the "estimates of costs to the taxpayer had continued to rise".

US silence on W76 delays

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A spokesman for the Y12 complex has refused to say any more about why completion of the upgrade of the W76 Trident warhead has been delayed. 

"I simply can't say. I can't say anything more than I've already said. That is the God's truth.  What we've said is the limit of what we're going to discuss on this particular issue".

Trident Money Should Be Re-Invested

Money earmarked to replace Trident should instead be spent providing a "massive" boost to manufacturing in Scotland, campaigners have urged.

It comes as trades unionists met in Glasgow to discuss the economic impact of not renewing the nuclear weapons system, based at Faslane on the Clyde.

An STUC and Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament joint report claims more jobs would be created in the Scottish economy if the money was used for other purposes.

Stephen Boyd, Assistant Secretary of the STUC, said: "The funds currently earmarked to replace Trident represent a huge opportunity for investment in the productive economy.