Trident now has 'nowhere to go', say nuclear weapons opponents

By staff writers
January 29, 2015

Secret plans considering relocating Trident to Wales are "logistically untenable" and a "slap in the face" for the people of Wales, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said.

It was revealed yesterday (28 January 2015) that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been conducting closed-door contingency planning for moving the Trident nuclear weapons system to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.

The news comes amidst government fears over the rise of the Scottish National Party, (SNP) in Scotland, which is committed to scrapping Trident and could play a decisive role in coalition negotiations following the general election in May.

The MoD has itself previously ruled out Milford Haven as a viable site for the UK’s nuclear-armed submarines on logistical and economic grounds, as the Trident: Nowhere to Go report produced by CND and Scottish CND showed in 2012.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson commented: "When the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, first commented that the UK’s nuclear submarines would be 'more than welcome' in Wales if they were kicked out of Scotland, he was met with derision by the people of Wales and across the UK.

"Jones quickly distanced himself from the comments – describing the statement as ‘entirely academic’ – when he realised not only the strength of opposition to nuclear weapons in Wales, but also that his economic case for 'welcoming' Trident had more holes than Swiss cheese.

"The job losses entailed in closing down industrial facilities in Milford Haven to make way for Trident would far outstrip the jobs brought to Wales. The Ministry of Defence knows this full well, but apparently it’s now reviewing its own homework to try to find a different answer!

"The Government knows it’s politically impossible. The Ministry of Defence knows it’s logistically untenable. And for the people of Wales who are overwhelmingly opposed to squandering £100 billion of taxpayers’ money on an archaic weapons system: it’s a slap in the face."

She concluded: "People in Wales, and across the UK, don’t want £100 billion poured into the black hole of nuclear weapons spending. With public services facing the axe, it’s time the Government jettisoned its Cold War addiction to nuclear weapons and committed to scrapping Trident and spending the £100 billion on things we actually need."

In 1963, the MoD investigated potential sites for Polaris, Trident's predecessor. Amongst the locations looked at was Milford Haven – which was found untenable due to the presence of one large oil refinery. The MoD concluded that Polaris and the refinery were incompatible on safety grounds and that the oil terminal would have to be closed if the site were to be used.

Right now this same argument has even greater force, says CND. Milford Haven now has two oil refineries, two gas terminals and further oil and gas storage tanks, which would make it impossible to locate Trident submarines and nuclear warheads there without closing all of these facilities down – with all of the job losses which this would entail.

Among Britain's different political parties, nuclear weapons are opposed in principle by the Greens in all the nations of the UK, by the Scottish National Party in Scotland, and by Plaid Cymru in Wales. Many Labour supporters and some MPs oppose them, but the party as a whole does not. Similarly with the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative Party, UKIP and the Democratic Unionists in Ireland all back Trident and nuclear weapons.

* Read Trident: nowhere to go here: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/briefings/trident/trident-nowhereToG...

* CND: http://www.cnduk.org/home

* MPs accused of putting 'nuclear weapons before public services': http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21341

* More on General Election 2015 issues from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/generalelection2015

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