Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label nuclear weapons

Blasting Galloway with Uranium

Depleted uranium is a radioactive and chemically toxic heavy metal produced as waste by the nuclear industry. It has been widely used by UK and US military forces to harden armour-piercing shells fired in the Gulf, Balkans and Iraq wars. When DU weapons burn, they release a hazardous dust that can contaminate wide areas. Civilians and soldiers exposed to the contamination claim to have suffered from cancers, birth defects and other illnesses as a result.

A new ruling by the UK Government after a secret review that depleted uranium (DU) weapons are acceptable under international humanitarian law means that DU tank shells could again be tested at the Dundrennan military firing range near Kirkcudbright on the Solway coast. Between 1982 and 2008, over 6000 DU shells were fired at Dundrennan. Soil samples taken in 2006 showed DU contamination breached agreed safety limits and high levels of DU have been found in earthworms on the site. The MoD has fired more DU in Scotland than anywhere e…

Faslane Futility

There has been a tradition of anti-nuclear protest in Scotland since the early 1960s when the US Navy established a base for their submarines at Dunoon on the Holy Loch. The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party all oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons. It is not unusual for members of these Scottish political parties, and indeed some from the Labour Party, to attend rallies outside Faslane. Both George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan have been arrested in demonstrations.

 The Faslane peace camp began 30 years ago. It was set-up as a Scottish version of Greenham Common. After all those years the camp is still there - and so are the warheads.

 Eric Thompson was commodore of the naval base in the mid-90s says: "Our original security concerns were Russian special forces, for which we had a barbed wire fence. Then we started worrying about the IRA, so we had a double-barbed wire fence but it was actually the peace camp and political em…

what austerity?

Nato's plans to upgrade the US's estimated 180 tactical nuclear weapons in western Europe. The alliance is preparing to replace "dumb" free-fall nuclear bombs and ageing delivery aircraft with precision-guided weapons that would be carried by US F35 strike aircraft. The plans to upgrade significantly the US's stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons would increase its ability to reach targets in Russia.

The cost to upgrade the bombs with precision-guided B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs will be at a cost of $4bn (£2.5bn). Replacing their existing aircraft with the US F35 Joint Strike Fighter, whose cost has risen to more than $100m (£62m) each.

Ted Seay, who until last year was arms control adviser to the US mission at Nato headquarters in Brussels  adds that modernisation would be a form of expensive nuclear escalation by default that could be expected to draw a hostile reaction from Moscow.

Ian Kearns, chief executive of the European Leadership Network , a think…