Posted: 6th April 2021
Please find today’s press round up below. I hope you had a pleasant Easter weekend. Thank you to all those who sent in items for inclusion in the recent round-ups.
UK Nuclear Warhead Increase
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists carries an article by Matthew Harries at the RUSI. Harries calls for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of the decision to lift the UK nuclear warhead cap in part to dispel ambiguity over whether the decision was made in response to a changed strategic environment or whether it represents the need to accommodate a ‘bulge’ in nuclear weapons capacity as the replacement W93-based warheads are brought on-line. He also wishes to see MPs clarify whether the UK has a doctrine of ‘limited nuclear retaliation’.
Moreover, Harries argues the move ‘fits poorly with the Biden administration’s emphasis on nuclear diplomacy, and although the change must have been briefed in Washington without drawing fatal opposition, it might be disruptive to US plans for a productive (or at least non-destructive) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference’.
CND activist Dr David Lowry has written a blog which helpfully indicates the various parliamentary questions and interventions made in relation to the UK warhead increase. The full blog can be found here.
According to the Forces Net website, the next generation of Dreadnought class will be installed with computerised Active Vehicle Control Management systems, in contrast to the current use of mechanised ‘planes men’ control sticks. The AVCMs will control things like the submarine’s depth, heading, pitch and buoyancy.
Iran Nuclear Deal
Representatives of China, Russia and the European powers met on Friday with Iranian officials to discuss a return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to Agence France-Presse. A U.S. State Department spokesperson welcomed the move, saying that it was ‘a positive step’.
In related news, the U.S. political blog The Hill reports that U.S. officials will be meeting in Vienna this week with other JCPoA signatories about re-starting the 2015 agreement. In a joint public statement, the non-U.S. signatories said that the Vienna meeting will attempt to begin construction of a ‘road map’ to bring both the U.S. and Iran back into compliance with the agreement. The Biden administration is under pressure for both Republican and conservative Democratic legislators to make sanctions relief conditional on full Iranian compliance with the JCPoA beforehand.
Christian Anti-Nuclear Activity
Thank you to Daniel Blaney for getting in touch with a profile in the Times of Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, a strong CND supporter and a mooted candidate to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The full piece can be found here.
Nuclear Power-European Union
Following on from French co-ordinated lobbying of the European Commission in favour of classifying nuclear power as a ‘green’ energy source and thus deserving of EU funding, Greenpeace Europe has publicly opposed the suggestion. The Irish Times quotes a Greenpeace spokesperson as saying that the Commission’s Joint Research Centre ‘is dangerously optimistic about the renovation of operating nuclear power plants.’ The spokesperson went on to say that ‘independent scientists have already told the EU that the unsustainable environmental hazard of nuclear waste is enough reason to drop the technology’.
By the end of 2020, Japanese authorities registered 240 suicides in the preceding nine years linked to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, according to Mainichi. A number of the cases involved those who had been evacuated from their homes and were living in temporary accommodation. Whilst the majority of suicides were in the first five years following the disaster, they continue to happen in smaller numbers.
With best wishes,
Press and Communications Officer
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament