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Nuclear Non-Proliferation News

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Welcome to Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, a new monthly news service from the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. We aim to provide links to a selection of UK and international news stories relevant to UK and NATO nuclear weapons issues. An archive of press coverage will also be available on our website at: www.acronym.org.uk/news. We welcome your comments and feedback. Please send your comments to mbutcher at acronym.org.uk.

In this month's edition

  • Controversy over Faslane base in the Scottish elections
  • Demonstrations continue against the UK's decision to renew Trident
  • Latest news from the arms companies
  • NATO, Russia clash over missile defence and the CFE treaty
  • House Armed Services Committee votes to review US nuclear posture
  • Experts say Bush hasn't made case for new generation of nuclear weapons

UK News

Trident demo at Holyrood
Scotsman.com, May 9, 2007
Janet Fenton, of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Campaign, said: "We just want to remind the new government that even though they don't know who they will be sharing power with, there are still people out there who feel very strongly about these issues."

Iran accepts compromise at NPT meet
AFP, Wednesday, 9 May, 2007
But South African Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty turned the focus back to nuclear weapons states when he said Britain’s effort to update its Trident submarine deterrent was a step back from the need to “diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies.”

Navy's stealth submarine will rule the oceans
By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent, Telegraph, May 9, 2007
At a time when morale is suffering, the launch next month of the Navy's biggest ever hunter-killer submarine will also give hope that Service can provide considerable punch anywhere in the world. With threats in the next decade more likely to come from Islamic terrorism the submarine will be able to sit off coasts undetected listening in to mobile phone conversations.

Babcock’s £350m Devonport target
By John Phelps, Sunday Herald, May 9, 2007
BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL, owner of the Rosyth and Faslane shipyards, will ready itself for a £350 million bid for the Devonport submarines operation on Thursday when it is expected to announce soaring profits and a fat increase in dividend.

1000 in May Day rally despite downpours
GERRY BRAIDEN, The Herald, May 7, 2007
In his speech, Mr Chisholm launched an attack on his party at Westminster, criticising the policy of dawn raids on asylum seekers, the war in Iraq and the plans to renew the Trident nuclear arsenal. He said: "I hope the decision to renew Trident is revisited in the near future. It is both morally and strategically wrong. Even many on the right now believe this to be the case."

Carlyle bids to wrest work from BAE
James Boxell, Defence Industries Correspondent, Financial Times, May 2, 2007
Carlyle, the US private equity firm, has offered to take over the running of Britain's multi-billion pound nuclear submarine-building programme, in a direct challenge to BAE Systems, the UK's biggest arms maker.

Scottish Church Leaders Call on UK Government to Abandon Trident
Maria Mackay, Christian Today, Saturday, April 28, 2007
Scottish church leaders have called on the UK Government to abandon plans to renew Trident ahead of a key meeting on Monday between signatory countries of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Trident rethink is dismissed as Labour spin
JAMES KIRKUP, Scotsman.com, April 16, 2007
LABOUR ministers in London were last night accused of spin over a report that the Ministry of Defence is preparing plans to move the Trident nuclear system out of Scotland.

Naval review ‘will not mean Faslane base’s removal’
DOUGLAS FRASER, Scottish Political Editor, The Herald, April 16, 2007
The Faslane base has been home to a campaign against nuclear missiles and submarines. Since October, protesters have gathered there to highlight their opposition to them as part of the year-long Faslane 365 campaign.

Revealed: the MOD plan to move Trident
BRIAN BRADY, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday, April 15, 2007
MILITARY chiefs are drawing up plans to move the UK's nuclear missiles south of the Border as concern mounts that Scotland is heading towards independence.

Police arrest 11 peace protesters
BBC News 24, Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Eleven peace campaigners have been arrested during a protest at an atomic research base in Berkshire. Activists staged the protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston over plans to upgrade the UK's Trident nuclear defences.

The power at Scotland’s heart
IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent, The Herald, April 10, 2007
The Trident nuclear deterrent is the one issue that divides even the ruling Labour Party in Scotland, polarising the camps of those implacably opposed to atomic weapons and those willing to support the government line of "a prudent insurance policy in a dangerous world".


US continues sub missile life extension
United Press International, April 9, 2007
The U.S. Navy has authorized another $135 million to pay for life-extension work on the submarine-launched Trident II D5 nuclear missile.

Sarkozy's Election Set to Improve Atmosphere for Ties With U.S.
By Judy Mathewson and Ken Fireman, Bloomberg, May 9, 2007
"You can probably look for a willingness on their part to be a very strong ally to the United States within NATO or just separately," said Felix Rohatyn, a senior adviser to New York- based Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. who was U.S. ambassador to France under President Bill Clinton.

Iran accepts compromise agenda at nuclear conference
Sapa-AFP, Business Day, May 8, 2007
Disarmament analyst Rebecca Johnson said she thought non-aligned movement states "had made it clear to the Iranians that ... a solution had to be found because for the most of the NAM, due to regional and international concerns, the NPT is very important."

European Parliment: Space - MEPs discuss how to avoid arms race
SpaceRef.com, May 7, 2007
Rebecca Johnson of the Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy in London, author of the EP-commissioned "Europe's space policies and their relevance to European Security and Defence Policy", told MEPs that "space can provide unparalleled resources for supporting Europe's security in relation to humanitarian and environmental crises and diverse natural, criminal and military threats". However, in a stark warning she said that "it is important to recognise the potential to turn outer space into a battlefield". Ms Johnson warned that "space has become a dangerously contested 'high ground' for some military strategists, particularly in the US, who promote the argument that whoever controls space will obtain an unassailable military and commercial dominance".

Reading Russia Right
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER, New York Times, May 4, 2007
THE criticism by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, of the United States and NATO put one in mind of an alpha dog at the junkyard gate — tough, unrelenting, pugnacious. The trend started with his Feb. 10 speech in Munich, and in Moscow on April 26 his annual address to Parliament carried it forward. He railed against foreigners trying to change the economic and political system, even the culture, of the Russian Federation and called for a new law to prevent such imprecations. He also suspended Russian participation in a key arms control agreement, the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.

French policy to follow Chirac's lead
Francois Murphy PARIS, Reuters, May 3, 2007
They depict each other as a U.S. poodle and a diplomatic buffoon, but French presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal would have remarkably similar foreign policies in office.

HASC Panel Targets Missile Defense, Milspace
Michael Bruno/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Aviation Week, May 3, 2007
The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee is recommending Congress cut the boost-phase Airborne Laser missile defense effort by $400 million, re-evaluate nuclear weapons policy while slowing the Reliable Replacement Warhead, (RRW) and bar the Pentagon from deploying Trident nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles as converted, conventional prompt global strike weapons.

Bipartisan Panel Will Review Nuclear Posture
By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, May 3, 2007
A House Armed Services subcommittee voted yesterday to establish a year-long, bipartisan commission to reevaluate the U.S. nuclear strategic posture for the post-9/11 world.

Poles demand missile shield against Russia
· European nations increase pressure on Americans
· Czech Republic want legal guarantee over bases
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, May 1, 2007
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, echoed such anxieties yesterday. "We have to avoid purchasing security for some at the cost of creating new mistrust or even insecurity," he warned in a direct reference to the Polish-Russian dispute.

Putin steps up missiles warning
BBC, April 27, 2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that US plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe would raise the risk of "mutual destruction"...British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted the missile defence plan was not aimed at Russia. "I am absolutely sure myself that it is not in any shape or form aimed at Russia or as a consequence of issues to do with America or Europe's relations with Russia," Mr Blair said.

Experts say Bush hasn't made case for new generation of nuclear weapons
By H. Josef Hebert The Associated Press, April 24, 2007
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has yet to make the case for building a new generation of replacement warheads and "the role of nuclear weapons" in a post-Cold War, post-9/11 world, a panel of nuclear weapons experts said today.

U.S. Scientists: Define Role for New Nukes Before Building Them
By WILLIAM MATTHEWS, Defense News, April 24, 2007
Before the United States begins a major overhaul of its nuclear weapons and the plants that produce them, the president and Congress should decide what role nuclear weapons will have in U.S. defense policy, a panel of nuclear scientists advises.

Congress Skeptical of Warhead Plan Lawmakers and Experts Question Necessity, Implications of a New Nuclear Weapon
By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, April 22, 2007
Congressional hearings over the past several weeks have shown that the Bush administration's plan to move ahead with a new generation of nuclear warheads faces strong opposition from House and Senate members concerned that the effort lacks any strategic underpinning and could lead to a new nuclear arms race.

Special Report: New Nukes Are Good Nukes?
David Biello, Scientific American April 30, 2007
What does it mean when the U.S. government announces plans to create the first new nuclear warhead in two decades?

Russia launches new strategic submarine
Pavel Felgenhauer, Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 18, 2007
At Sevmash -- Russia's largest nuclear submarine-building shipyard -- in Severodvinsk, located north of Moscow on the White Sea, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov officially launched the first of the Borei class (project 955) nuclear strategic subs. Later that day the chief of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), Sergei Kiriyenko, inaugurated the building of Russia's first floating nuclear power station.

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