22 February 2006: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has condemned tomorrow’s scheduled “sub-critical” test of nuclear weapon components at the Nevada Test Site. The test, a joint venture of Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment and the USA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, will provide data for the US nuclear weapons programmes. The data collected from this test can be used both to verify existing weapons and also to model new warheads. The UK is currently considering replacing its Trident nuclear weapon system, due to expire in 2024, with a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “At a time when the US, UK, and others claim to be trying to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, they themselves are conducting tests designed to possibly build more nuclear weapons. By engaging in this nuclear test, the US and UK are demonstrating to the world that they are not truly committed to achieving nuclear disarmament.”
The US and UK are jointly conducting this test under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), which has among its goals to improve each party’s “atomic weapon design, development, and fabrication capability” (note 3).
Ms Hudson said, “Our government must immediately stop engaging in these nuclear tests, which contravene the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Not only do such tests threaten to cause massive environmental damage, they also make the world a more dangerous place by paving the way for a new generation of nuclear weapons.”
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. Mutual Defence Agreement, Article II, Section B
4. In an authoritative legal opinion released on 26 July 2004, Rabinder Singh QC and Professor Christine Chinkin of Matrix Chambers concluded that “it is strongly arguable that the renewal of the Mutual Defence Agreement is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”