For immediate release: 9 June 2006
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, will take part in a high-profile visit to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, where Britain’s nuclear weapons are designed and built, along with Scottish Church leaders, MSPs, and others. The delegation, which includes a former Lord Advocate and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, has requested a meeting with senior Aldermaston scientists to discuss concerns that they are already in the process of designing new nuclear weapons, despite government claims that no decision on Trident replacement has yet been made.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “Particularly at a time when the international community is attempting to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it is an extreme double standard for Britain to continue expanding its own nuclear weapons programme.”
Whether inside or outside the AWE fence, the delegation will tour the site, where developments on the scale of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 expansion strongly suggest new nuclear weapons are already under development. These include:
(1) Government investment of £1 billion in Aldermaston AWE over the next three years, including hiring over 1000 new scientists and engineers
(2) Plans to build the ORION laser at a cost of at least £100 million
(3) Development of new ‘super-computers’ which are capable of simulating nuclear tests and designing new weapons. These will increase the facility’s computing power by a factor of 900.
(4) Plans to build new hydrodynamics test facilities, as well as tritium and highly-enriched uranium plants
(5) Plans for recruitment of 80 new specialist scientists and advertising for staff to join the ‘warhead development centre’
Following the fact-finding visit, the delegation will travel to the House of Commons to meet Hans Blix, who will present the new UN Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission report to MPs and the media. The report recommends that nuclear weapons be outlawed completely and highlights how important Britain’s decision whether or not to build a new generation of nuclear weapons is to the future of international nuclear disarmament.
The delegation will travel from Scotland to reflect widespread Scottish opposition to nuclear weapons. Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines are currently based at Faslane on the west coast of Scotland. The delegation is being jointly organised by Scottish CND, Greenpeace, and the Nuclear Information Service and is supported by CND.
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
3. The delegation will arrive at the front gate of AWE Aldermaston at 10.15 am on Monday 12th June
4. The delegation will then travel to London and join the UK launch of the WMD Commission report with Dr Hans Blix at 2 pm. To arrange space at the meeting or to interview Hans Blix contact Carol Naughton of the WMD Awareness Programme on 07736 698 702.
5. At 3.30 – 5 pm the delegation will meet Westminster MPs in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House, to discuss their Aldermaston visit and UK nuclear weapons policy. Tea and coffee will be available from 3 pm in Committee Room ‘O’
6. The delegation includes: Bill Butler MSP, Labour; Colin Fox MSP, Leader Scottish Socialist Party; Robin Harper MSP, Co-leader Scottish Green Party; Dr Bashir Maan CBD, Scottish representative on the Muslim Council of Britain; Mary Alice Mansell, Scottish Quaker General Meeting; Dr Richard McCready, National Secretary Justice and Peace Scotland (Catholic Church); Rev. Alan McDonald, Moderator Church of Scotland; Isobel Lindsay, Vice-Chair Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Lord Ronald King Murray, former Lord Advocate; Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary UNISON; Sandra White MSP, Scottish National Party; John Ainslie, Coordinator Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Representative of Glasgow City Council (tbc); Simon Clydesdale, Greenpeace; Rebecca Johnson, The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy; Phillip Austin, Northern Friends Peace Board (Quakers); Di McDonald, Executive Director Nuclear Information Service; Kate Hudson, Chair CND; Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading; Richard Maguire, Mountbatten Centre for International Studies; Evelyn Parker, Nuclear Awareness Group (NAG).