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Nuclear Spin

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The following articles are quoted as examples of the spin attached to the issues arising from the management of resources related to nuclear operations, both civil and military. They are presented purely for review purposes, and in consideration of the use of public media to foster and promote radiophobia.

Radiophobia is an abnormal fear of ionizing radiation, also used in the sense of fear of X-rays. The term is used in several related senses: in reference to a neurological disorder, to a specific phobia, and (polemically, not medically) to general opposition to the use of nuclear energy.

Most significant is probably the perpetuation of the story that nuclear weapons are stored in the Glen Douglas Munitions Depot, which may well be a huge weapons store, but is loaded with conventional weapons, and forms an area which no-one would even consider as a practical place to store nuclear weapons. Apart from the risks associated with storing such weapons in the heart of a massive conventional munitions storage area, there is the simple logistical matter of transporting such resources to the facility. Nuclear convoys to Faslane attract the attention of protesters intend on disrupting them (oddly, they claim to do this in the name of highlighting how dangerous the convoys are). Nuclear weapons transport would be relatively trivial to block, given the nature of the roads and the size of the vehicles involved.

Nuclear ordnance associated with the submarine operations at HMNB Clyde, Faslane, is stored in the adjacent facility within Coulport. Apart from the convoys carrying the weapons to this store, the submarines load and offload their nuclear ordnance there, avoiding the need for additional road transit, and certainly not involving trips back and forth to Glen Douglas for storage.

The extent of the supposedly highly dangerous material supposedly dumped in Beaufort's Dyke is referred to in our page on the location.

Dumping Nukes off Rockall ?
Rockall Island lies approximately 200 miles from Skye. It rises 20 metres above the sea-line and consists entirely of granite. A navigation beacon was installed on the island in 1972 several years after Britain had annexed this remote uninhabitable tip of a sunken mini-continent. Rockall Island sits on the Rockall Bank. Between the Bank and the Outer Hebrides and the West Coast of Ireland lies the Rockall Trough more than 9000 feet deep. When the Beaufort's Dyke furore started up there was reference to the dumping of nuclear waste "that Britain intended to dump far out in the Atlantic Ocean''.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority accelerated a programme of dumping at sea in the '50s and '60s and until as recently as 1982. High-grade waste was going into the Rockall Trough. Even bits of nuclear submarines ended up there .

At the start of November, the potential "nuclear timebomb" condition of a ship, The Lepse, in Murmansk on Russia's Arctic Coast, was in the news. It had been used to hold amongst other things damaged nuclear fuel rods from a Russian nuclear powered ice-breaker. Britain's AEA Technology and France's state-owned nuclear company SGN have contracted to examine the ship with a view to decommissioning it and "for the safe removal of the nuclear wastes". Dounreay have sent out Mr Neil Buchan to use his expertise.

The 26-year old Polaris submarine HMS Renown, which had 200 million spent on a refit three years ago, is stuck in Faslane on the Clyde having never been to sea since August 1994. At Rosyth there are four decommissioned submarines. The Ministry of Defence is content to have it there because eventually Trident would take over. Broken-up nuclear submarines, waste from the reprocessing of American generated fuel rods at Dounreay, Russian "nuclear time-bomb" radio-active material - all of these look destined for Scotland.

Several years ago, just before he died, Willie McRae suggested that there were plans for Rockall which could spell disaster for Scotland but which were being considered as part of a world-wide solution to the uncontainable nuclear waste. Current thinking is that Beaufort's Dyke is not the place for dumping but that the Atlantic might be.

Stay alert, Scotland.

A nuclear dumping ground ?
The Conservative Government have turned Scotland into the biggest nuclear arsenal and the biggest nuclear dump in Western Europe, if not the world. Trident nuclear submarines are based at Faslane, and all British nuclear weapons are stockpiled at Glen Douglas, both bases are less than 20 miles from Glasgow, the largest Scottish city with a population of around 700,000.

Can you imagine the outcry if these weapons of mass destruction were stored within 20 miles of London ?

Dounreay nuclear reprocessing plant near Thurso is a convenient 600 miles from London. Westminster has been incredibly secretive about Dounreay's true role, but it has now come to light that weapons-grade material from around the world has been stored at Dounreay for years. In fact, new contracts have just been negotiated, which invole sending nuclear waste from Germany, England and the US to Scotland for storage. Potentially from the US alone, up to 15,000 spent fuel rods will be dumped on Scotland.

Scotland has been a nuclear dustbin for too long. High grade waste from Sellafield and weapons from Faslane have already been regularly transported around Scotland by road and rail, through the centres of major cities and towns.

The US, Germany and other countries don't want the problem of their own nuclear waste, because their populations are against it, so, Westminster has kindly given them Scotland. This is riding roughshod over the Scottish people who are overwhelmingly against their country being treated as a nuclear dump.

Even the once anti-nuclear Labour Party have now promised to keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Well Scotland says

"If London wants nukes, they can store them on the Thames"

The only hope for a nuclear free Scotland is through an Independent sovereign Scottish Parliament, freely elected by the Scottish people. Only the Scottish National Party (SNP) promises a nuclear-free Scotland.

The following item is one of a number of similar claims from the page concerned.

Beaufort Trench - Nuclear fears now confirmed 13-07-97 New revelations will confirm nuclear dumping - Bombs, Chemical weapons now nuclear confirmed - Celtic Leagues long campaign vindicated.

It seems that finally there will be grim confirmation that the sea trench at Beaufort Dyke was used by the British government to dispose of nuclear material. The news is a total vindication of concerns raised almost 15 years ago by the Celtic League, when we first started to elicit details of the dumps contents.

Successive years saw earlier evasions and retractions by the British government. New information has uncovered the vast and deadly nature of the materials now listed as being disposed there. These latest revelations also confirm that successive British governments have been prepared to mislead not only Parliament but also the International community with evasions to the Irish government and lies to the IAEA.

Any sense of vindication of the early stance taken on this issue by the Celtic League has to be tempered by the thought that these latest admissions raise more questions than they answer.

Beaufort is now known to contain hundreds of thousands of tonnes of a vast range of material, 'simple' ordnance, chemical munitions and (now with this admission) nuclear material. Do we leave the dump undisturbed and wait until a problem arises? This is what happened with the chemical devices which still periodically drift to shore in N. Ireland. SW. Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Do we attempt to stabilise the dump and recover the nuclear material from it? In so doing might we disturb other and as yet unconfirmed disposed material. Any admission at this time advances the need for a serious debate on the best means of tackling this nightmare on our doorstep!

Bernard Moffatt

pp. Celtic League


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