Trident is Britain’s so-called independent nuclear deterrent. It consists of 4 submarines, which are stationed at Faslane in Scotland, on the shores of Loch Long, each of which can carry 42 independently targeted warheads. Each of these warheads is 8 times more powerful than the bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, which killed 140,000 people. The Government will not divulge what the potential 192 targets for these bombs are. The design, technology and equipment for the bombs are US and the bombs could never be fired without US permission. International Law outlaws the firing of such weapons but the UK has now lined up with the US in saying that there are circumstances in which Britain would make a first strike.
The UK is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty of 1970. This is a treaty between nuclear and non-nuclear powers, whereby those with nuclear weapons (officially Britain, France, China, US and Russia) agree to take steps towards nuclear disarmament if the non-nuclear countries will agree not to acquire nuclear weapons. This treaty has prevented most countries in the world from going nuclear, but it is now beginning to crack, because the nuclear countries have done very little towards disarmament themselves. (see Nuclear Weapons Convention)
NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Britain is now considering building new nuclear weapons to replace Trident. This is a gross contravention of our responsibility under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and CND utterly opposes this move. We shall be actively campaigning to stop this. A majority of people in the UK now opposes nuclear weapons (Independent ComRes poll 2009, Guardian ICM poll 2009 and Mail on Sunday – BPIX June 2010) and many MPs are asking the government to reconsider. CND’s position is that building new nuclear weapons is wrong because:
1. It contravenes our responsibility under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
2 Nuclear weapons are not a deterrent against our biggest security threat which is terrorism.
3. Our nuclear weapons are not independent, they are American and cannot be fired without US permission.
4. The present Trident system carries 192 independently targeted warheads, each one is 8 time more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb which killed 140,000 people. Could we ever contemplate using this against another country?
5. New nuclear weapons will cost £100 billion. With this money we could meet our Millennium Goals in the struggle to end world poverty and prevent many of the cuts to education, welfare benefits and the health service.
6. If we claim that we need nuclear weapons for defence then every country could do the same – nuclear proliferation would be unstoppable.