21 July 2005: for immediate release
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today called on John Reid to “come clean” on the developments taking place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire, which produces and maintains Britain’s nuclear warheads. The Defence Secretary told MPs on the 19th July that developments at Aldermaston are only to “maintain the existing Trident warhead stockpile.” However CND believes these investments may be being made to make the infrastructure ready for new nuclear weapons development. CND Chair Kate Hudson said today that developments at Aldermaston are ‘clearly part of a bigger picture’ and she suggested that ‘there is every indication that the government has plans to replace Trident.”
Recent reports suggest that the government have already made the decision to replace Trident and that John Reid, the Defence Secretary, has taken the first steps towards replacing Britain’s so-called nuclear ‘deterrent’ by opening talks with the US government on a successor to Trident. The huge new government investments in the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, which produces and maintains Britain’s nuclear warheads, include a massive new laser called Orion used in simulating the testing of nuclear weapons, recruitment of new scientists and various new laboratories and equipment. The AWE specifically stated its committed to ‘retain a capacity to produce a successor weapon’ in its 2004/5 annual report.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
“The government must come clean on its reasons for spending £1 billion on developments at Aldermaston. I find John Reid’s comments unconvincing at a time when there is every indication that the government has plans to replace Trident and develop a new generation of nuclear weapons.
The developments at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston highlight Britain’s nuclear hypocrisy and lack of commitment to its international treaty obligation. This ‘do as we say not as we do’ message to the world is a dangerous one and will only increase global insecurity. The government should be working towards disarmament and global stability not planning to proliferate.”
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner 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.