Britain's New Bomb Programme Exposed

Publication - 20 October, 2006
The UK government has given go ahead for new nuclear weapons developments: Greenpeace investigation reveals PM’s hypocrisy.

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Executive summary: On 24 September 1996 the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signatures. The treaty banned all nuclear tests – thus stopping new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, and existing nuclear-weapons states from developing new nuclear weapons. Alongside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it was hailed as a major step towards nuclear disarmament.At the time, the Labour Government played a key role in pushing for the treaty and in urging other countries to support it.This briefing reveals:• how now, 10 years on, the UK Government risks destroying the treaty;• how billions of pounds are currently being invested inbuilding hi-tech equipment at the Aldermaston nuclearweapons laboratory;• that the new facilities planned for the site enableAldermaston to design and build new nuclear weapons; and• scientists’ concerns – that taking a high-tech approach tothe virtual design and development of new nuclear weaponswill inevitably lead to a return to full scale nuclear testing.It also:• examines testimonies from leading US nuclear weaponsscientists who are convinced that, despite what the BritishGovernment says, such facilities are not needed to simplymaintain the safety and reliability of our existing nuclearweapons;• explains how UK development of new nuclear weaponsthreatens to destroy both the CTBT and the NPT;• considers what the knock-on effect of the collapseof these treaties could have for global security; and• calls on the UK Government to adopt a new approachtowards security.All this is happening prior to any parliamentary or public debate on whether the UK should build a nuclear weapons system. Fundamental questions such as: How are Cold War nuclear weapons relevant to 21st century foreign policy?; What real threats does the UK face?; and ‘What effect would building a new bomb have on international disarmament negotiations?’ all remain unanswered.Greenpeace is calling on the Government to announce a moratorium on new nuclear weapons development, take our Trident submarines off patrol and place the UK’s nuclearweapons in an internationally monitored store on land. The Government should then use these measures to encourage other countries to follow suit and help restart stalled multilateral disarmament.

Num. pages: 16