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

Problems with mystery Warhead material

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The United States Department of Energy have encountered significant problems remanufacturing a secret material for Trident warheads. The material called Fogbank is used in the interstage of the 100 Kiloton W76 warhead. The interstage channels energy from the Primary to the Secondary of the thermonuclear weapon.  


In 2004 a special facility was built in the United States to remanufacture Fogbank as part of plans to extend the life of W76.  These Life Extension plans have recently run into difficulty. The delay is due to serious problems with the manufacture of a Special Material. The US Administration are likely to use this delay to argue that a new Reliable Replacement Warhead is needed.


Because Fogbank is only manufactured at one plant in the United States it is likely that Britain purchased this material for the Trident warheads which have been made at Aldermaston.

 

A detailed report on Fogbank is available here. (Word Doc) Reported in the New Scientist (8 March edition) and Guardian

Security Council approves new sanctions against Iran

The UN Security Council has extended sanctions against Iran  for refusing to halt sensitive activities that could result in the production of a nuclear bomb.

For the first time however, the 15-member Council was not unanimous on an Iran resolution, despite the British and French sponsors delaying the vote by three days in a bid to secure unanimity. A total of 14 countries voted in favour, while Indonesia abstained on the ground that Tehran is cooperating with the UN nuclear agency in clarifying outstanding questions about its nuclear programme, which Iran says is for energy purposes.

The UN vote was scheduled as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was discussing a report by IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, in which he confirmed that Iran had failed to halt uranium enrichment in line with UN demands. His report raised concerns about documents which the IAEA believed to be connected to nuclear weapon research.

Iran said the documents were fabricated and rejected allegations about missile development.

The sanctions imposed  ban dual-use goods being traded with Iran, which have both military and civilian purposes, and provide for the inspection of shipments suspected of carrying any banned items.

9 year old calls for end to US nukes

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On Tuesday 26 February over 400 people attended a public meeting in Oak Ridge Tennessee to discuss the future of one of America's biggest nuclear weapons' facilities, the Y12 plant.

Inca Nicholson, a 9 year old girl, addressed Ted Wyka, the presiding federal officer and said:
"You have got to be insane ..... We need trees, sun, and clean air.  Not another nuclear weapon".

Inca is from the Farm School at Summertown, Tennesee. Reported in Knoxnews.

The Three Trillion Dollar War

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According to a new book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and author Linda J. Bilmes. In "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict," they warn that the war's "true budgetary cost," excluding interest, "is likely to reach $2.7 trillion." Aside from the price of munitions, contractors, transport, fuel and other fixed costs, their calculations are based on the government's continuing obligation to provide medical care and disability payments for the thousands of wounded Iraqi and Afghanistani veterans over the coming decades.

Those costs represent a moral debt on which we cannot default — and they will grow larger every day that we maintain the occupation. Even if the war could be ended immediately, the fiscal obligations incurred by the invasion and occupation will continue. Beyond the mandatory disability payments, medical and psychiatric care and additional benefits to which the troops are entitled, the nation will face years of increasing military budgets to restore the equipment and readiness of our battered armed forces, especially the Army and the National Guard.

Even in the "best-case" scenario envisioned by Stiglitz and Bilmes, with our troop presence declining rapidly, the U.S. commitment in Iraq is still likely to cost no less than $400 billion over the next several years, on top of the $800 billion or so that we have spent to date. Those figures, which don't include veterans' benefits, add up to $1.2 trillion. What the authors call their "realistic-moderate scenario" for a prolonged presence in Iraq will cost twice as much or more.

International Disarmament Conference in Oslo

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Norway's Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere,  opened an international conference in Oslo on disarmament, under the theme "The Vision of a World Free of Nuclear Weapons".

The aim of the two-day conference is to explore how states can contribute to achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Peace Prize Laureate and IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and former senator and CEO/Co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative Sam Nunn are keynote speakers at the conference.

Since September 2005, Norway has headed the Seven-Nation Initiative on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, aimed at further reducing the number of nuclear weapons and strengthening international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Summit Marks CND's 50th Anniversary

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Bianca Jagger was one of the speakers when anti-nuclear activists from across the world gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. At a two-day Global Summit event in London's City Hall, CND said world opinion increasingly recognised that nuclear weapons were a global security problem that could only be solved through disarmament.

Kate Hudson, chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "As part of the events marking the 50th anniversary of CND, the Global Summit will bring together delegates from across the globe with the aim of laying the groundwork towards negotiating a global ban on these terrible weapons."

Other events being planned by CND include a protest at the Aldermaston Weapons Establishment on Easter Monday on the 50th anniversary of the first peace march to the site.

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.