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Disarming Trident

A report from Scottish CND points out how Scotland could be free from nuclear weapons in two years.  Report (3Mb pdf)

Writing in the Sunday HeraldRob Edwards reports that the Scottish Government have warmly welcomed Scottish CND's timeline for disarming Trident

An independent Scotland could insist on the following actions:

Phase Action Timescale 
(from day one)
1 End operational deployment of submarines 7 days
2 Remove keys and triggers 7 days
3 Disable missiles 8 days
4 Remove warheads from submarines 8 weeks
5 Remove missiles from two submarines 10 weeks

Disable nuclear warheads and remove Limited Life Components from Scotland

1 year
7 Remove nuclear warheads from Scotland 2 years
8 Dismantle nuclear warheads 4 years


Dr Bruce Blair, the leading world expert on how to de-activate nuclear weapons, said the report was highly credible and added:

"It accurately describes the essential steps needed to remove Trident submarines from alert status, de-activate teh weapons systems and remove them from Scottish territory. It anything the timetable is somewhat conservative. My studies have determined that some of the steps could be taken at a pace that is nearly twice as fast, though the more leisurely pace in the SCND timetable ensures a completely safe process of disarmament".

Professor Richard Garwin is a member of the JASON's panel which advises American governments on nuclear weapons issues. He was credited by Edward Teller as being the true designer of the first hydrogen bomb. Professor Garwin said:

"The missiles and nuclear weapons can be disabled within weeks and removed within two years and dismantled within four years".

Professor Frank von Hippel, a former White House nuclear adviser, said the timetable was "not unreasonable". Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute said it was "broadly credible in technical terms", but that it would amount to "a forcible demobilisation of the UK's nuclear force".

The Scottish Government's response was:

"We are firmly committed to the earliest possible withdrawal of Trident from Scotland .... The suggested timetable is a welcome indication of how quickly Trident could be removed once Scotland has the powers to decide its own defence and security policy".

The Disarming Trident report builds on Scottish CND's "Trident: Nowhere to Go" publication in January, which proved conclusively that there is no viable alternative site that Trident could be moved to in England, Wales, the United States or France.

In a second development (Sunday Herald), the MOD have been forced, by the Information Commissioner, to release a statement in which they acknowledge that the actions of an SNP government could disrupt the Trident programme. The 2009 Risk Register for the Defence Nuclear programme notes that the Crown are subject to planning regulations and then highlights the following risk:

"The SNP have suggested they will exploit environmental legislation against basing Trident in Scotland.
"Potential threat to continued deterrent operations and support from Faslane/Coulport"

The mitigating action which was proposed to counter this risk was:

"Engagement of Scottish legal expertise to advise on issues and strategy". (source document)

It has also been revealed that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is about to announce that the UK government will spend £1 billion on new reactors for the Trident Replacement submarine, even though the final decision in this project will not be made until 2016 and the Liberal Democrats are opposed to it. (Telegraph)