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

Funding eliminated for new US warhead

As a result of action by Congress there will be no funding for programme to build a new US 
nuclear warhead, the Reliable Replacement Warhead, in the next financial year, 2008.
Funding was finally eliminated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed by President Bush
on 26 December.
The plan for a new warhead cannot go forward until the President develops a strategic nuclear 
weapons plan to guide transformation and downsizing of the stockpile and nuclear weapons complex.
 

New missile may not fit

Research by Scottish CND has established that the US are planning to build new nuclear missiles to replace Trident. 
The new system is called the Underwater Launched Missile System (ULMS). However the US will not have ULMS in
service until 2029 and have not yet established the capabilities required of the missile, let alone its dimensions.  A test
bed for the new missile will be designed to allow for options of missiles wider and heavier than Trident.
 
This may pose a major problem for the designers of the new British submarine. The British submarine programme is
running 5 years ahead of its American counterpart.
 
The test bed specifications suggest that the US may ignore the promise which George W Bush made to Tony Blair
- that the new missiles would fit inside a Trident missile tube.

UK Cabinet Split Over Defence Cuts

Proposals to slice up to £15bn from the defence budget over the next decade have been drawn up by the Treasury, provoking bitter rows within Whitehall and the Cabinet at a time when the military are under enormous pressure to meet commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The rift has caused the Ministry of Defence to postpone publication of the latest 10-year industrial strategy because Ministers admit current negotiations are ongoing and no agreement has been reached.

Though overall spending on defence is due to rise from £34.1bn next year to £36.9bn in 2010, prior commitments to Trident and two new aircraft carriers mean deep cuts are being drawn up in other areas between now and 2017.

Iran Threat Downgraded

In a blow to Bush administration hawks demanding military strikes on Iran, a US intelligence report reveals that Tehran's secret nuclear weapons programme was shut down four years ago.

The finding concluded: "We do not know whether [Iran] currently intends to develop nuclear weapons." That is in sharp contrast to an intelligence report two years ago that stated Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons".

The report was meant to be released last Spring but was delayed to avoid the mistakes of a similar exercise on Iraq in 2002 which exaggerated Saddam Hussein's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and cleared the way for the US-led invasion.

The report said Iran was not a rogue regime, but a rational country where " decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs."

Attempt to Bury News of Missile Defence Base Attacked

CND wholeheartedly welcomes the comments made by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee The Committee has strongly criticised the Government�s attempt to sneak out the announcement that the American-run base of RAF Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire is to form part of the US Missile Defence system.

 

The influential committee of MPs said that they �regret the manner and timing of the Government's announcement�and the resulting lack of Parliamentary debate on the issue� referring to the release of the news as a written statement on the last day before Parliament broke for the summer.

 

In February then-Prime Minister Tony Blair had promised a full debate �when we have a proposition to put�. Just weeks before the announcement of the decision, a minister told the Commons "discussions are at an early stage and there are no formal proposals". In apparent contradiction to these statements, the decision was announced in July. In response, the Committee �recommend that the Government inform us of the date on which it received the formal proposal from the US to include Menwith Hill in the BMD system�. They also call for a full Parliamentary debate on the proposals. 

 

£500m extra cost of Dounreay clean-up

The cost of decommissioning Dounreay is set to rise by more than £500m and there could be further increases on the way.

Much of the increase is due to uncertainty over the fate of radioactive fuel and nuclear waste on the Caithness site The increase came to light as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) approved the latest long-range plan for the site's closure.

For a number of years the official estimate was £2.9bn. That had been scaled back to £2.1bn but has now been increased again to £2.7bn. Using real-term estimates, the cost will effectively rise to more than £3.6bn.

Stopping Trident sneaking out of the Clyde

Every hour of every day, a Trident submarine from the Clyde carrying up to 48 nuclear warheads - each capable of obliterating a city - is hiding somewhere deep under the world's oceans. Some believe they are helping to deter war, but for most people in Scotland they seem supremely pointless, or worse.

The missiles are not targeted on any country. They have not prevented punishing wars in the Balkans, the Gulf and Afghanistan, and they certainly don't deter terrorists. They are draining the UK economy of billions of pounds. And if they were ever fired, they would wreak death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

That's why opinion polls have consistently shown more than 50% of Scots opposed to Trident. A majority of Scottish MPs in Westminster and a majority of MSPs at Holyrood have voted decisively against replacing Trident, which is what the UK government has said it wants to do.

Rogue British captain could launch Trident

left
The BBC has discovered that Britain has failed to 
introduce safeguards to prevent rogue officers from
launching nuclear war in a Dr Strangelove scenario.
Security on the arming system of the RAF's WE177 
bombs was almost non-existent and there is no
electronic lock preventing the officers on a British
Trident submarine from firing their missiles on their
own initiative.

Nuclear Convoy lost in Scotland

left

Around midnight on Monday night, 12 November, vehicles in a convoy transporting nuclear weapons got lost as they travelled in the dark around central Scotland. The convoy was travelling from the nuclear weapons store at Coulport. Members of Nukewatch were tracking the support vehicles at the back of the convoy.  These vehicles took a detour towards Kincardine Bridge, then took a U-turn back towards Stirling and stopped at the Forthside Defence Logisitics site.

 

US Funding for FALCON Project

An United States  House-Senate Conference Report about a $459 million defense budget revealed that $100 million is to be given for the development of a "prompt global strike" program capable of launching a precision-guided warhead that can be detonated at any point in the world two hours after deployment.

The program FALCON, which stands for Force Application and Launch from CONSUS, was described by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intelligence reporter Walter Pincus as "a reusable Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle capable of delivering 12,000 pounds of payload at a distance of 9,000 nautical miles from [the continental United States] in less than two hours."