Sunday, 11 November 2007

Protesters seek to disrupt nuclear bomb factory AWE

What a site this morning, seeing ex prime minister Tony Blair at a rememberence ceremony. I hope he is thinking about the hundreds of thousands that are dead thanks to his spin and lies. He should have been tried for war crimes, not invited to sully the memories of those watching the TV and thinking about those lost sadly lost.

Non-violent direct action group Block the Builders will return to Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston, Berkshire on the morning of Monday 12th November as they seek to disrupt work at Britain’s nuclear bomb factory.

The planned blockade, supported by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp(aign) and Trident Ploughshares, is intended to draw public attention to the alarming ongoing developments at the facility - not least the construction of the multi-million pound Orion laser - intended to enable the development of the next generation of WMD.

Amongst those we grieve on Remembrance Sunday are the innocent hundreds of thousands who died due to the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, both in the immediate aftermath and in subsequent years due to cancers and leukaemias. We also remember those who have died and suffered from radiation-related illnesses due to nuclear bomb test fallout, and all victims of the nuclear industry. For many anti-nuclear campaigners, AWE is a symbol of the pain and suffering of the victims of the nuclear age and their loved ones.

On Monday, Block the Builders will draw attention to the Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s secret but repeatedly denied plans to develop a new nuclear warhead in collaboration with the Americans (1), which has never been put to either Parliament or the British people.

We will also highlight the hypocrisy of the British government in criticising Iran for its uranium enrichment programme whilst simultaneously pressing ahead with a massive expansion of its own nuclear weapons facilities (2).

‘The New Scientist’ reports that, as of September 2007, AWE Burghfield had over 300 unresolved safety defects, and has only been allowed to remain in operation by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate because the MoD claims the work carried out there is ‘vital’ (3).

The MoD has recently submitted a planning application for a new warhead components facility at AWE Burghfield (4) without carrying out a proper risk assessment. It seems reasonable to ask whether it will require a cloud of plutonium particles to be released over the south of England and beyond before a public inquiry is launched into the new developments.

Block the Builders believes it is time to restore a measure of sanity to the world. We cannot merely stand by and watch as our politicians - assisted by nuclear arms profiteers Lockheed Martin, Serco and BNFL (5) - continue to drive us into a new Cold War.

Notes for editors:

1. The UK’s secret warhead programme was reported by Ian Bruce in ‘The Herald’, 4 September, 2007

However, the existence of such a programme was denied in a written answer to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne MP in response to a question by Dai Davies MP (12 September, 2007)

See also: ‘So, minister, are we developing new nuclear weapons or not? -
Scientists say they are designing a new warhead design, despite government denials’
by Marie Woolf, ‘The Independent’, 29 October, 2006

2. Some links providing background to the ongoing developments and recruitment drive at AWE:,,1690630,00.html
AWE site development strategy plans:

3. The safety problems at AWE Burghfield were reported by Rob Edwards in ‘New Scientist’, 19 September, 2007

4. Details of the planning application for AWE Burghfield submitted to West Berkshire Council by the MoD (Case Number : 07/01686/COMIND) can be found at:
The application is due to be considered by the West Berkshire Council planning committee on 14 November, 2007.

5. Lockheed Martin, Serco and British Nuclear Fuels PLC (BNFL) are the equal shareholders of AWE Management Ltd, which is contracted by the MoD to operate AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield until 2025

Block the Builders

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Tel: 07807 522 454
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