The “Introduction to Nuclear Defence” seminar, held in Beardmore Hotel Clydebank today and tomorrow, invited “young delegates” for two days of seminars and presentations on nuclear defence topics from “leading industry figures”. The programme, only open to UK passport holders subject to stringent security checks, includes a tour of Faslane naval base on Friday 7th September where the entire British nuclear weapons submarine fleet is based.
Seven activists from Faslane Peace Camp entered the seminar room to interrupt the proceedings and question the legitimacy of preparing a new generation of young people for employment in the nuclear arms industry when the UK is obligated to disarmament through the Non Proliferation Treaty and Trident replacement has not received democratic approval. They presented the delegates with large posters with images of victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffering the effects of radiation burns as a result of the atomic bombs that were dropped on the Japanese cities in 1945 instantly killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. The peace activists read out first hand accounts from Hiroshima survivors in unison before being ushered out by hotel security.
The organisers (Babock, Rolls Rolls Royce, Atkins, amongst others) immediately tried to clear the room to prevent the delegates from listening to what was being said. Having made their point and getting a right good look at what exactly was on the agenda for the seminar, the seven handed out fliers to other residents of the hotel, explaining the situation and swiftly left before the police arrived.
“These delegates are having these weapons presented to them as a rational business prospect and secure employment for their future. We wanted to remind them that nuclear weapons are illegal under international law and that the very threat of their use is a crime against humanity. We used the horrific images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to appeal to their humanity and urge them to think of the moral implications of a career in the nuclear weapons industry. They could instead be using their intelligence and skills to benefit the human race.” explained Julia from the Peace Camp.
Leonna, another camper said, “the Trident weapons programme is approaching the end of it's lifespan and, despite the democratic decision to replace it having not yet been made, the arms companies are already receiving billions to design their replacement and rubbing their hands together for the rest. The platinum sponsor for this seminar is Babcock, one of the companies that will profit most from the £100 billion tax bill that Trident renewal will cost the public purse. It is time we viewed these weapons as what they really are, the most inhumane, dangerous and regrettable thing human beings have ever created. The deterrence argument is a conspicuous red herring, if we want to create a peaceful and secure world, complete nuclear disarmament is the crucial first step”.
The seminar has come in the wake of reports that the nuclear arms industry is in danger of collapse due to a global lack of qualified engineers and personnel. The first Trident submarine is due to be decommissioned in 2024, a £3billion design stage was given approval by parliament in 2010 but the decision on actual replacement is tabled for 2016. Despite this, profitable contracts have been handed out to nuclear arms companies Rolls Royce, Babcock and BAE Systems. Further billions have been surreptitiously spent building the facilities for a new generation of nuclear weapons at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston.
Military personnel at Faslane Naval Base and representatives from the regional public services infrastructure, including the fire brigade, council and NHS, have been busy this week simulating a nuclear reactor accident. Exercise Short Sermon tests the reactions and emergency responses of the local safety measures in the event of a nuclear reactor accident. However, the exercise is based on the false assumption that, in the event of an accident at Faslane or elsewhere, the radioactive fission material will be contained within the hull of the submarine and not released into the water or atmosphere.