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The Day the World Banned the Bomb

24 October 2020 - the day the world banned the bomb

 

Today, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The 50th ratification triggers irreversible entry into force.

Each state has 90 days to make arrangements to fully comply with the Treaty’s terms – to  outlaw all nuclear weapons and nuclear tests, and to repair, as far as possible, the damage which our terrible nuclear history has done to survivors and to our planet. It also binds its member states to urge all other governments to join.

Since they have not yet acceded to the Treaty  the world’s 9 nuclear-armed countries (and the other countries which host nuclear weapons) are not yet bound by it, but we know that Treaties change behaviour, even among the countries that don’t ratify them. The entry into force of Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty have completely changed the world’s approach to these deadly weapons, despite the US not having ratified either of them. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will do the same.

The nuclear-armed states are well aware that the Treaty will have an impact. This week, we saw the unedifying spectacle of the world’s biggest nuclear power – the USA – begging the countries who have signed the Treaty to withdraw from it. Although they have previously made huge efforts to discourage states from joining, this new behaviour is a first in breaching UN diplomatic protocols.They know, as well as we do, that this Treaty will forever change the way the world relates to nuclear weapons.

Today is a day that will go down in history – the day the world banned the bomb. We thank the 50 countries that have shown the courage and leadership needed to bring this Treaty into force, and the 34 more who have signed it, who we trust will ratify it soon. We recognise the tireless work of our fellow campaigners for peace and disarmament in those countries, as well as in countries still committed to nuclear weapons, where the journey may be longer – but where there is now hope of a better ending.

We know that the Scottish Government, and Scottish parliamentarians, support the aims of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We call on all Parties and all representatives to pledge that they will support the Treaty – to pressure the UK Government to sign up now, and to state unequivocally that Scotland, if independent, would ratify in its own right and have global and UN backing in refusing to have any nuclear weapons here.

The next 90 days are 90 days of celebration and education, as member states prepare their arrangements for the Treaty to enter into force. Join us to learn more about the Treaty and what it means for Scotland, and for our world, and to add your voice to the call for nuclear disarmament now.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To find out more about the Treaty and what it means for us here, head to NuclearBan.Scot. To learn more about the international campaign against nuclear weapons, visit ICANW.org. For regular updates on Scottish CND’s campaign, sign up to our newsletter here, come along to our virtual AGM on 21 November, or get involved with your local group.

In the words of atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow: “The beginning of the end of nuclear weapons has arrived! Let us step through the doorway now!”

Recalling Britain's Shameful Nuclear Anniversaries

October is a month of terrible anniversaries in Britain. Last week, on October 3rd, we marked the shameful moment when, in 1952, the United Kingdom became the world's third nuclear power, after detonating an atom bomb off the Montebello Islands in Western Australia.

Throughout the 1950s, the UK continued to test nuclear weapons in so-called 'remote' areas of Australia. The environmental devastation, and enormous damage done to human health and life, is still being felt today, especially by the indigenous people who lived close to the source of the blast.

The parade of deadly anniversaries continues this week. October 10th marks the day that fire broke out at Windscale nuclear plant (now Sellafield) in 1957 - an incident which narrowly avoided devastating the Lake District, and which is now blamed for at least 240 cases of cancer.

The Windscale Fire should stand as a warning that even nuclear power plants can be deadly. If you missed last week's newsletter, click here to read about the threat that Hunterston B power station still poses to hundreds of thousands of us in Scotland, and share your #ShutDownHunterstonNow photos on social media to join our online protest.

Our past casts a long shadow, and some of the challenges we face today are eerily similar to the nightmares of the 1950s. Did you know that "New START" - the treaty between Russia and the USA which provides for some measure of arms control - will expire this February, and talks to renew it are foundering?

The challenges are immense, but there is also hope. The world stands on the brink of ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - an international agreement that would - fully, finally - ban the bomb. The importance of this moment cannot be overstated. Here, in Scotland, we must seize this opportunity to call for an end to nuclear weapons - out of Scotland, out of Britain, out of the world.

To receive regular updates on this and other essential campaigns, click here to subscribe to our newsletter, or join us and become a member of Scottish CND.

NATO Exercise Joint Warrior

 

The large naval NATO exercise, Joint Warrior, occurring in Scottish waters and ports has commanded public attention because of justified fears for the safety of dolphin nosed whales visiting the Gareloch; whales are known to be highly sensitive to underwater noise.  The Scottish population is not the intended public of the show of force mustered by this exercise but rather Russia or whoever it is in the international community that NATO wishes to impress. Willingness to use nuclear weapons, including in a first strike, is part of NATO military doctrine. It is no accident that the exercise is based on Faslane in the Gareloch, the home of the UK nuclear weapon system. In Scotland, neither nuclear weapons nor NATO’s first strike doctrine have popular support; if asked what they would prefer in our waters, most people would unequivocally choose whales over deliberately provocative displays of mass force.  Yet Scotland regularly hosts such NATO exercises, including events that would never happen anywhere else in Europe. Cape Wrath is the only firing range where multiple countries conduct live bombardment from land, sea and air. As with all military activities, neither the carbon footprint of fuel and resources used up in the process nor the environmental damage in pollution caused by Joint Warrior will be monitored or reported, never mind the direct impact on marine life like whales.  Scottish CND campaigns for a Scotland and a UK that is out of NATO as long as NATO is a nuclear alliance and advocates that the UK join the majority of the world in signing the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. We condemn this exercise as an unnecessary harm to our environment, a squandering of resources in the middle of a global tension, climate emergency and a pandemic; it is an unhelpful statement to the rest of the world that is not in our name.

 

#Shut Down Hunterston Now

Last week, the ONR gave permission for the ageing, cracking Reactor 4 at Hunterston B nuclear power station to start up again.

This was a predictable but deeply disappointing decision, after Reactor 3 was given the same treatment earlier this summer. Now both reactors are running for the first time in years, despite known problems. Even if the risk is small, it cannot be worth taking, when the majority of the Scottish population lives downwind.

These decisions show just how strong the nuclear lobby is, and how tightly the nuclear threat is woven through the fabric of our lives in Scotland. From the lorries that carry nuclear warheads up and down our roads, several times a year, to the hulking power stations at Hunterston and Torness, Scottish people are exposed to serious and unjustifiable danger because of the nuclear industry in all its forms.

Sutherland Space Hub and the Military

As the controversial Space Hub on A’Mhòine edges closer to reality, fears deepen that it will soon become a launchpad for military and spy technologies.

The Sutherland Space Hub gained planning permission from the Highland Council last month, despite more than 400 objections from the public, after Scottish Ministers chose not to call in the application and subject it to more rigorous scrutiny. Now the project faces only the barriers of a Scottish Land Court application and formal business case approval before it can go ahead.

Sottish CND AGM, 21 Nov 2020, 10 am

Judging the Safety of Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station

It is extraordinary that Reactor 3 of Hunterston B nuclear power station is being declared as ‘safe’ enough to restart. It has been closed since March 2018 because of the fears raised by an estimated 377 cracks in its graphite core. It’s twin, Reactor 4, is now also closed for inspection to monitor cracking, last estimated as below the level of Reactor 3. Given that 3 was known to be worse, it is likely that it too will be allowed to restart. Forget the idea that the plant will close ‘early’ in 2022, both are on borrowed time - 14 years beyond their intended life of 30 years at construction. Scottish CND, Friends of the Earth and UN House Scotland has already called for their immediate closure.

75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan – events 7th to 9th August 2020

 

We aim to gather and share photos and ideally videos (in length between 20 and 60 seconds) of events on the 6th August for compiling and sharing out again, probably starting at the SCND meeting on the 9th August. So please send us yours to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scottish CND will host an online event at 7 p.m. on the 9th of August. The focus will be on what we must do now to make the witness of the Hibakusha count in the campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons. On Nagasaki Day it is time to move from remembering to action to ensure that nuclear weapons are abolished and eliminated. Join Bill Kidd MSP and SCND Chair Lynn Jamieson and be part of the way forward. Access by https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815877733

Linking to internationals via ICAN. Please ensure that you sign the pledge at the special ICAN anniversary page, rise.icanw.org to honour the Hibakusha, and check out loads of ideas and resources there. In particular, the stories from survivors of the attacks and an ICAN anniversary exhibition which you can download for use in your own locality.

Check out local events here:

6th and 9th August 2020 - Good Days for Global Nuclear Disarmament

 

While the world reflected on the horror of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there has been huge encouragement for the cause of disarmament as four new UN states, Ireland, Nigeria, Niue and St. Kitts and Nevis, have ratified or acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Ireland has been a champion of nuclear disarmament since the 60s and was a key player in the adoption of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Along with Austria, it has provided unwavering creative and imaginative advocacy for  the TPNW throughout the last decade and its ratification of that Treaty has been long expected, as well as hugely significant. As a member of the EU it now stand in good counterbalance to the French attachment to weapons of mass destruction, as well as the occasional  mutterings about the EU having its own nuclear weapons. Today's step forward by Ireland is also a boost for those who are working for the end of the treacherous business of “nuclear-sharing”, whereby the air forces of Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are equipped with US nuclear weapons. Then there is the UK, a recalcitrant nuclear-armed state across the Irish Sea, and a little further north a Scottish government and people who reject nuclear weapons and support the TPNW - and who derive enormous encouragement from Ireland's assertive stance.

Ideas and Events on the 75th Anniversary of the Nuclear Attacks on Japan in 1945

There will be intensive social media activity from next week onwards from across the world. Scottish CND, Scrap Trident and others will be adding a Scottish voice. Please share and repost if you can!

Here's a nice way to spread awareness of the anniversary. Scottish artist Stewart Bremner has drawn a 75th Anniversary frame for use on Facebook. To get it on your Facebook profile, click on your profile, click on update, click on Add Frame, in search put in "SCND 75 Hiroshima Nagasaki". Add it to your Twitter profile picture by visiting: https://twibbon.com/Support/remember-hiroshima-nagasaki

We aim to gather and share photos and ideally videos (in length between 20 and 60 seconds) of events on the 6th August for compiling and sharing out again, probably starting at the SCND meeting on the 9th August. So please send us yours to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.