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Vive l'entente cordiale?

Abolition 2000 brought together campaigners and analysts from both sides of the Channel this weekend at a seminar to discuss the implications of the new UK – France Defence and Security Co-operation Treaty.  The Treaty commits the two nations to co-operation over defence and security issues for the next 50 years, with a separate agreement to develop joint facilities for nuclear weapons physics research.

Modifications, upgrades, and new warheads

As well as revealing the precarious state of nuclear safety at the Ministry of Defence, the recently released series of annual safety reports has also revealed some interesting insights into the UK's Trident nuclear warhead programme.

Safety risks reach red at Ministry of Defence

Navy's submarine reactors do not meet civilian safety standards

Top-level Ministry of Defence (MoD) reports from the Admirals responsible for the UK's military nuclear safety reveal that a lack of adequate and resources and suitably competent staff may place safety and the environment at risk in the medium term.

Watch out for stealth spending on Trident replacement

Greenpeace UK and CND have been doing some sterling work to establish how much money will be spent on the Trident replacement programme before Parliament decides whether to give the final go-ahead for the programme after the next general election.

The decision on whether to replace Trident can't be put off indefinitely

I went up to London on Tuesday for a lecture at SOAS, where Dr Robert Gallucci, President of the MacArthur Foundation, was speaking on 'Assessing the Nuclear Threat' alongside Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman from Kings College London.  The talk majored on the need to prevent terrorist groups from being able to develop a nuclear weapon, but the subject of Trident replacement came up, and whether the UK government's plans to replace Trident were helpful or unhelpful in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

Safety snapshot for AWE's A45 facility released

NIS has received more information about Abnormal Events at AWE Aldermaston – this time in the A45 facility that undertakes much of the work with uranium and other radioactive metals at Aldermaston.

A45 is one of Aldermaston's older facilities, and the Health and Safety Executive has permitted it to continue operating until March 2016, subject to an improvement programme being completed for the building.  After this the facility will be replaced by Project Pegasus – the proposed new enriched uranium facility at Aldermaston.

How the P5 worked together to protect their interests at the NPT Review Conference

More from Wikileaks about the power-play between the permanent five (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council before the Non Proliferation Treaty Review Conference earlier this year.

For 'Iran' read 'Britain'?

One of the Wikileaks diplomatic cables gives an interesting insight into the state of public opinion in Iran on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

Ni Ruchi, a Chinese diplomat who had returned from visiting Iran, told staff from the US Embassy in Beijing that “considerable debate was taking place among ordinary Iranians over the utility of the nuclear program.

Wikileaks reveals US concerns over Egypt in pre-NPT diplomatic dialogue

  • US plotted with Israel and France to block discussion on Middle East nuclear weapons free zone.

The case against CASD

Events organised by the Global Strategy Forum are always worth attending, and the Forum's recent lunchtime seminar on nuclear non-proliferation and arms control was definitely on my 'must go' list.  With former Defence Secretaries Des Browne (now Lord Browne of Ladyton) and Sir Malcolm Rifkind discussing the question 'Can we really count down to zero', the meeting certainly promised the fresh thinking and active debate that the Forum was set up to provide.