A¬Ý NEWSLETTER¬Ý FROM¬Ý IRISH¬Ý CND
New Series ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý Volume 1 ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý ¬Ý Autumn 2004
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH YOU
We hope you find this issue of Peacework interesting and useful. We apologise that you have not heard from us regularly for several years. This was because of shortage of people to do the work. We intend to produce Peacework twice a year from now on.
We would like to keep in touch more regularly as well, through email. (Unfortunately we can offer this service only to people who are on email.) We will send you news of particular interest, and notices of meetings, etc., that you might like to attend. We know how crowded most people¬s mailboxes are, and will send you only about one message a month.
So please send us your email address. Send it now to:¬Ý HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org and add your name and address so that we can match it with our records.
We have to apologise in particular to some people who may not have heard from us at all for several years. Since the office moved out of Cork, we have been operating on membership lists which we thought were identical. We have now found that there were discrepancies between them and so some people may have got left out of our circulations. We have now amalgamated the lists into one.
Acting Secretary ,Äì Irish CND
¬Ý¬Ý ,Ä¶ BUILDING¬Ý PEACE
This excellent development education pack, produced by AfrI (Action from Ireland), is aimed at 2nd level students. It can be used in CSPE courses, Transition Year, Religion and Geography courses. It examines the issue of conflict, one of the most urgent issues facing humanity today.
There are four modules in this pack: ,ÄúConflict and its Costs,Äù; ,ÄúConflict and its Resolution,Äù; ,ÄúIreland and the Arms Trade,Äù; and ,ÄúMoving Beyond¬Ý Conflict Towards Peace and Justice,Äù.
It is user-friendly with teachers,Äô notes and student handouts provided.
Phone AfrI for more details¬Ý ,Äì
01-882 7581¬Ý or¬Ý 01-882 7563
Executive Member ,Äì Irish CND
CHANGES¬Ý COMING¬Ý IN¬Ý THE¬Ý EU
Draft¬Ý Constitution¬Ý for¬Ý Europe
The Draft Constitution for Europe has now been finalised and we can see what the Government will be placing before us in a referendum at some date not yet revealed.
These notes relate only to security policy as that,Äôs the area of interest of CND.
Some of the proposals are framed in the rather vague language that is often used in EU treaties. The European Court of Justice will be able to judge whether Ireland has followed the requirement to ,Äúrefrain from action contrary to the Union,Äôs interests,Äù, whether it has supported the common foreign policy ,Äúunreservedly,Äù, and whether it has upheld ,Äúthe Union,Äôs position,Äù in international organisations. However, the more definite commitments on security policy are exempted from the jurisdiction of the Court.
There is a "flexibility clause" under which the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs could sign the country up to measures not provided for specifically in the Draft Constitution, supposedly for promoting peace or resolving conflict, without referring back to the Irish people or even the D°il.
There is to be a European Foreign Minister who will obviously outrank our own Minister and we can expect more co-ordination of foreign policy than there is at the moment.
Ireland has to promise to improve its military capability. The Irish government might find itself participating in the political direction of military activity even if it was not part of the military operation. And there is a commitment to use military resources to help other member states if they are the victim of a terrorist attack.
Probably the most dangerous area is on the subject of "mutual defence". In changes to the Draft Constitution introduced after the Convention had finished sitting, Ireland promises to use all the means in its power to come to the help of any other member state which is attacked, a similar promise to the one in the Western European Union Treaty, which is an even stronger commitment than the one in the NATO Treaty. So why stay out of NATO if such promises are OK? If we make this promise, no-one could call us neutral any more whatever the Government might claim. How can a state be neutral and yet be bound to come to the defence of others?
And it won,Äôt stop there, because there is a more definite commitment than before to a "common defence" at some time in the future.
The Government will try to sell this Treaty on many grounds. We must make sure that their claim to be safeguarding Irish neutrality is shown to be false.
SELLAFIELD¬Ý TO¬Ý CLOSE?
In August 2003 hopes were raised that THORP (Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant) was to be closed at Sellafield. BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Limited) quickly issued a statement saying that all existing contracts would be honoured and that the current order book extended to at least 2010. The Magnox reprocessing plant should close by 2012. There are no plans to shut the MOX nuclear fuel plant. It produces reactor fuel pellets using plutonium and uranium stores held at Sellafield.
The bad news is that even if THORP closes, it may be modified to handle reactor parts or other material. It would thus continue to discharge radioactivity into the Irish Sea. Radioactive waste has always been a huge issue with the nuclear industry. Already there are 3,336 tonnes of uranium, 75 tonnes of plutonium and 1,575 cubic metres of high level liquid waste held on the site. Material there will remain radioactive and a danger for 250,000 years.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was
established by the UK government to oversee the country,Äôs
radioactive waste problem ,Äì mainly caused by the
civil nuclear industry,Äôs activities. However the
NDA,Äôs role has already been radically changed since
it was originally proposed. According to the Energy Bill 2003,
the NDA will now be able to operate installations that create
waste ,Äì for example, the loss-making Magnox reactors, two spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plants and a MOX plant. There are even concerns that legislation is so worded that the NDA might be able to build nuclear power plants to burn plutonium fuel created at Sellafield! Greenpeace is worried that decommissioning is being used as an excuse for increased discharges of radioactivity to the environment. It is believed that the NDA should only deal with ,Äùlegacy,Äù wastes, with a duty to avoid or minimise waste creation.
¬Ý¬Ý CHILDREN,ÄôS¬Ý TEETH
In the late 1990s, more than 3,000 molars were collected from young teenagers during dental treatment across the UK by researchers. Analysis revealed traces of plutonium in all of them, even in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Those living close to Sellafield had more than twice the amount of those living 140 miles away.
In 1997 the conclusions received little attention because levels were so minimal they were thought not to pose a health risk. Doubt is now being cast on this view. As CORE (Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment) says, ,ÄúThere is no safe amount of plutonium,Äù.
NUCLEAR¬Ý NON-PROLIFERATION¬Ý TREATY¬Ý (NPT)
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) is a cornerstone of the policy of international disarmament. It is the most widely ratified disarmament treaty, with 188 States party to it. Potentially, it is a very powerful instrument. Sadly, there have been serious problems with it. Three nuclear-weapon-capable States ,Äì India, Israel and Pakistan ,Äì have not ratified it and, in January 2003, North Korea withdrew from it. The five "nuclear-weapon States (NWS)" ,Äì China, France, Russia, UK and US ,Äì have not complied with their obligations under Article 6 to negotiate (i) an end to the nuclear arms race at an early date; (ii) nuclear disarm-ament; and (iii) general and complete disarmament.
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
verifies compliance with nuclear safeguards, and it is the sole
authority for determining non-compliance and the appropriate response
to that. Article 3 of the
NPT obliges observance of IAEA safeguards. This is formalised in a bilateral Agreement between each State and the IAEA. But, because the NPT has not been effective in preventing nuclear proliferation, an Additional Protocol is to be signed voluntarily by each State. By October 2004, 86 States had signed such an Additional Protocol, but it had Entered into Force in only 61 of them.¬Ý China has ratified. The EU has agreed three separate Protocols ,Äì one for France, one for the UK and one for all the other States. President Bush favoured ratifying, but the US has refused to ratify, although it has been demanding that other States ratify or face dire consequences.
In 1998 the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) issued a Joint Declaration: "Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World: the Need for a New Agenda". The Coalition was formed by eight States ,Äì Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden ,Äì though Slovenia was intimidated into withdrawing from the Coalition a few months later.
The NPT now has a mandatory Review Conference every five years. At the last review in 2000, disarmament was promoted actively by the New Agenda Coalition, along with countries such as Canada, and a large number of NGOs, 141 of which were integrated into the Review process. The Conference ended with an "unequivocal undertaking" by the five NWS "to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all State Parties are committed under Article 6". The Conference adopted 13 practical steps towards disarmament.
The next Review Conference will take place at the UN in May 2005. Many NGOs will be attending. So will the ,ÄúMayors for Peace,Äú organisation, started by the Mayor of Hiroshima. It is to be hoped that they, along with the New Agenda Coalition and other progressive States, will persuade the non-compliant NWS and the States Not Party to the NPT (NNPT) to make genuine progress on the road to international peace and security.
[Sources: IAEA, website:¬Ý HYPERLINK "http://www.iaea.org" www.iaea.org
UN, website:¬Ý HYPERLINK "http://www.disarmament2.un.org" www.disarmament2.un.org
Acting Chair ,Äì Irish CND COMPREHENSIVE¬Ý TEST-BAN¬Ý TREATY¬Ý (CTBT)
In 1996 the United
Nations General Assembly adopted a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
This prohibits any nuclear explosion
in any environment for military or
civil purposes. It establishes a Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which now has a Preparatory Committee (PrepCom). These are based in Vienna and are charged with implementing the Treaty and monitoring compliance with it, with on-site inspections where necessary. They maintain a global network of monitoring facilities, 134 at present (the International Monitoring System), and an International Data Centre.
In 1996, all five nuclear weapon states (NWS) signed the Treaty, and by October 2004, a total of 173 states had signed. Of these, 119 (including Ireland) have ratified. This leaves only 19 states still to sign. (For aficionados, Nauru and Kiribati have both ratified, while Niue and Tuvalu have not signed yet.) Initially, this appears to indicate quite good support for the Treaty, but unfortunately there is a serious problem. The Treaty requires that, before it can Enter into Force (EiF), it must be ratified by each one of 44 states with nuclear capabilities. These states are listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty. They are states which were present at the Conference on Disarmament in 1996, and have either nuclear power or a nuclear research reactor. So far only 32 of these listed states have ratified, while 12 have failed to do so.¬Ý
Three of these states have failed either to sign or ratify the Treaty ,Äì North Korea, India and Pakistan. A further nine have signed, but have failed to ratify. Three of these are very significant, namely the United States, Israel and China. The rest consist of Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Vietnam.
website:¬Ý HYPERLINK "http://www.ctbto.org" www.ctbto.org]
Peace organisations have called on their supporters and on members of the public to bring pressure to bear on these twelve states, and also to lobby Governments to bring pressure on them, to ratify the Treaty so that it can Enter into Force (EiF).
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration wants to resume nuclear testing, and has already allocated funds for making ready the test-site in Nevada. They want to test a new generation of nuclear weapons ("mini-nukes" and "bunker-busters") and also to make sure that their existing weapons are still functional. A great deal of persuasion will be needed to get the US¬Ý to change its new nuclear defence policies, which are radically different from those of previous Governments.
A SIGN OF HOPE
Last July, the US changed one policy. They now support a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty which would ban the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons ,Äì a sign of hope for future negotiations.
"Mini-Nukes" and "Bunker-Busters"
The Bush Administration has completed its "Nuclear Defense Posture Review". This Review actively seeks new uses for nuclear weapons, emphasises pre-emptive military action and shortens readiness to restart nuclear tests in Nevada. The Administration has decided to press ahead with the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons, which would be "usable" in conflicts. These are mainly of two types, "mini-nukes" and "bunker-busters".
In November 2003, these plans were approved and money was allocated for the Fiscal Year 2004 in the Defense Authorization Bill (US$401 billion) and the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (US$27 billion).
Advanced Nuclear Weapons
¬Ý¬Ý Concepts (ANWC)
US$6 million allocated for 2004 ,Äì the Bush Administration has requested US$9 million for 2005, 150% of the 2004 budget
Advanced Nuclear Weapons Concepts, or "mini-nukes", would have a yield of less than 5 kilotons.¬Ý They are intended for actual "tactical" use on the battlefield, not for any supposed "deterrence". They would erode the firebreak between conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction and make the use of nuclear weapons much more likely. In inhabited areas they would entail a great number of civilian deaths. The US Spratt-Furse Amendment (1994) banned research and development of low-yield nuclear weapons (5 kilotons or less). This was repealed by the House and the Senate in November 2003.
Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators
US$7.5 million allocated for 2004 ,Äì the Bush Administration has requested US$27.6 million for 2005, 368% of the 2004 figure
Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators, or "bunker-busters", are claimed to be intended for actual use against "terrorist" bunkers and stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. They penetrate 20-30 feet of rock and concrete before exploding. But as US Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher has pointed out, this would not be very effective, as all that the terrorists would have to do is locate their bunkers deeper in the ground; the weapons offer no guarantee of destroying chemical and biological agents without releasing them into the atmosphere; and they would make the immediate area radioactive. With a claimed yield of 100-300 kilotons, use of such weapons would have a catastrophic effect on the population of the region.
Modern (Plutonium) Pit
¬Ý¬Ý Facility (MPF)
US$11 million allocated for 2004 ,Äì the Bush Administration has requested US$29.8 million for 2005, 271% of the 2004 budget
A plutonium pit is a sphere of plutonium metal encased in a shell of steel. It provides the trigger for a nuclear explosion. This financial allocation is for building a new, nuclear bomb factory.
Enhanced Test Readiness
US$25 million allocated for 2004 ,Äì the Bush Administration has requested US$30 million for 2005
This money is for preparing the Nevada Test Site for the resumption of nuclear explosions.
[Source for items above:
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation,
website:¬Ý HYPERLINK "http://www.wagingpeace.org" www.wagingpeace.org]
Nuclear Update (Continued):
The Russian Federation has threatened that, if the US goes ahead with these plans, it, too, will develop a new generation of "tactical" nuclear weapons.
In the United Kingdom, the Blair Administration has allocated funds already for the construction of a new building with new laboratories at Aldermaston (the British facility for the design, production and reprocessing of all of their nuclear weapons). They say they are doing this "in case" they decide to build the new weapons. They say that this development would take place in "close collaboration" with American nuclear experts, another example of what we might call the Special Criminal Relationship between the two countries. The Americans, however, appear to be quite unaware that they are collaborating with the UK on this illegal project.
France has announced that it will not be developing miniature nuclear weapons, as this would not be consistent with its policy of "dissuasion". It should be noted that France, though not actually at the development stage yet, is continuing to research the feasibility of such weapons. The army is conducting research at Le Barp, near Bordeaux, into the use of lasers to ignite thermonuclear fusion. That would enable the manufacture of low-yield (or "mini") hydrogen bombs, which would be very "usable" indeed. When the research is finished, the question of development can be re-opened. After all, if the rejection of such weapons is definitive, why continue with expensive research into them?
According to the World Court, the possession and threat to use nuclear weapons is a crime under International Law. Further, the development of such weapons is contrary to many commitments given by the states involved, and is a serious violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Further, the use of these weapons in inhabited areas would be contrary to International Law banning indis-criminate use and would be contrary to the teaching of various Churches condemning as immoral the use of such weaponry.
Proliferation continues, however, leaving the world a far more dangerous place that it was ten or fifteen years ago. There has been much "horizontal" proliferation, with the spread of technology and material to new countries and possibly to "non-state actors". Now there is a great deal of "vertical" proliferation, with the research and development of new technology by several countries. It is essential that we all campaign to reverse these trends. There will be an opportunity for change at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review in 2005. The Irish Government has done well in the past, through the New Agenda Coalition and at the NPT Review Conference in 2000. We must encourage them to continue to do well in the future, despite political and economic pressures.
¬Ý¬Ý DEFENCE (ABM)
The Bush Administration continues to develop Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Defence, in violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Treaty. Australia, Britain and Japan have joined the United States in this programme. Canada is under pressure to join. In the US, the Missile Defence Agency is up and running. Its budget for 2004 was reported as being over US$9 billion, with US$10.2 requested for 2005. The Bush Administration already has started deployment of anti-missile defences. By October 2004, five missiles were deployed in silos in central Alaska, though the system still does not work properly. In addition, the Agency has requested money to fund putting weapons in space. The Russian Federation has been testing its own missiles, and now claims that it has ways of penetrating through the proposed US defence system. The world is headed into a new, expensive and potentially lethal Arms Race.
FOUND ! !
of¬Ý Mass¬Ý Destruction¬Ý ...
¬Ý ¬Ý USA¬Ý ¬Ý 10,640
¬Ý ¬Ý Russia¬Ý ¬Ý 8,600
¬Ý ¬Ý China¬Ý ¬Ý 400
¬Ý ¬Ý France¬Ý ¬Ý 350
¬Ý ¬Ý Britain¬Ý ¬Ý 200
¬Ý ¬Ý Israel¬Ý ¬Ý 100 ,Äì 200
¬Ý ¬Ý India¬Ý ¬Ý 30 ,Äì ¬Ý 35
¬Ý ¬Ý Pakistan¬Ý ¬Ý 24 ,Äì ¬Ý 48
¬Ý ¬Ý [Source:
¬Ý ¬Ý Natural Resources Defense Council,
website:¬Ý HYPERLINK "http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/" www.nrdc.org/nuclear/ HYPERLINK "http://www.ndrc.org/nuclear/nudb/database19asp" nudb]
This item is based on the front page of heddwch, the magazine of CND Cymru (Winter 2003-4)
Irish¬Ý Campaign¬Ý for¬Ý Nuclear¬Ý Disarmament
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