NUCLEAR WARHEAD TRANSPORT ROUTES SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIALS (SNM

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					NUCLEAR WARHEAD TRANSPORT ROUTES
1. Trident warhead convoys travel between the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield, the final assembly/disassembly facility near Reading in Berkshire and the Royal Naval Armament Depot, RNAD Coulport, in Scotland, from where warheads are deployed and also stored. The route taken is on the east of Britain using the M4, the London Orbital M25, A1M, M6, M74, A66, A595 and in Scotland, the M74, M80, M9, A811 and A82. In addition, many secondary and unclassified country lanes are used.

2.

SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIALS (SNM) TRANSPORT ROUTES
Special Nuclear Material convoy routes are concentrated in the south of Britain 1. Travelling: - between AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield, Berkshire; - between AWE Aldermaston and AEA Technology, Harwell, Oxfordshire; - between AWE Aldermaston and BNFL Sellafield/Chapelcross, Cumbria; - between AWE Aldermaston and RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, where the nuclear cargo is transferred to RAF aircraft for transport to US weapons laboratories via Dover Airbase, Delaware; - from AWE Aldermaston to Rolls Royce Nuclear, Derby SNM convoys use a central & west of Britain route: A34, A4, M4, M40, M42, M6, M1, A52. In addition many secondary and unclassified country lanes are used.

2.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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LEGAL INFRINGEMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH NUCLEAR CONVOYS
The Advisory Opinion of the World Court of Justice concerning the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons was delivered on 8th July 1996. It states in authoritative terms, that international customary law applies to nuclear weapons. International customary law overrides domestic law. 1. “In view of the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons, to which the court has referred above, the use of such weapons in fact seems scarcely reconcilable with respect for such requirements”. (para. 95) Such requirements are found in international customary humanitarian and environmental law. Thus the effects of the weapon - must distinguish between civilians and non-combatants - must not pollute water/food resources - must not affect future generations - must not cause unnecessary suffering - must respect neutral territory

2.

These are all unavoidable consequences of exploding a nuclear weapon. 3. It is therefore unlawful to design such a warhead for use; to build warheads; to transport them for deployment; to deploy them or to use them.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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WARHEAD NUMBERS AND DISPOSITIONS
1. The 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR) announced that 200 operational warheads were to be in service on 4 Trident submarines. It did not state the size of warheads, the number of spare warheads, or if more were to be kept in storage in a nonoperational state.

Nukewatch evidence suggests that around 180 Trident warheads are now service or stored at RNAD Coulport in Scotland. The original possible total of 512 was not delivered. Nor is it thought the announced maximum of 300 was reached. Around 230 were commissioned by 1997, with up to 50 of those now decommissioned. 2. Up to 48 warheads are operational on 3 submarines, up to 144 in total. The storage of around 40 warheads was added to in 2001 when 48 were removed from the 4th Trident submarine before its two-year refit at Devonport Management Ltd Dockyard in Plymouth, Devon. However, transfer of warheads from Scotland to AWE and the smaller number of returns delivered, suggests that there may be less than 180 available to the Navy. If 100 Kiloton standard yield is deployed on the W76/0 warheads, a total of 14.4 megatons of fire-power is available. It is possible that less than 144 warheads are deployed and that the yield is reduced to give a 'sub-strategic' role, but such information is kept secret from the British electorate and cannot be determined by citizen verification. All obsolete WE-177 free-fall RAF bombs, RN depth charges and Polaris' Chevaline warheads have now been decommissioned.

3.

CONTINUING WEAPONS PRODUCTION
1. 2. AWE maintains a capability to design and produce a 'follow-on to Trident' warhead. Production of warheads appears to be continuing at AWE Aldermaston. Loaded SNM convoys from AWE Aldermaston to AWE Burghfield in March & June 2003, indicate that production /servicing is continuing, albeit at a slower pace than was expected. Replacement of Trident warheads is expected during the 30-year life-time of the submarines.

3.

SERVICING OF WARHEADS
1. 2. Trident warheads are gradually being recalled for mid-life attention at AWE. AWE report that an occasional warhead is tested to destruction and replaced. This, and the servicing process, keeps facilities and skills functioning with a view to producing future nuclear weapons.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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STORAGE OF DECOMMISSIONED WARHEAD PITS
1. Pits from disassembled warheads are not destroyed, and are mostly stored at AWE. A small amount of Plutonium has been put into the International Safeguards regime at BNFL Sellafield.

NUCLEAR WASTE FROM AWE ALDERMASTON
1. 2. All removal and discharges of nuclear waste from the site is termed "disposal" by AWE. Low Level Waste (LLW) particulate emissions from the AWE stack go into the atmosphere, falling to earth both near and far, but more quickly if it is raining. Improved filters have reduced discharges in recent years, but release, especially of tritium remains a problem. Solid LLW is sent by road to AEA Technology Winfrith and to Drigg in Cumbria. Liquid LLW goes to Shanks plc at Southampton, and along an 18Km double bore pipeline into the River Thames at Pangbourne. LLW sludge goes to Silchester sewage works nearby. A new Aqueous Waste plant is due to be operational in 2005 when the Pipeline is closes, resulting in increased tritium discharges into the domestic sewage system. The current plan is to leave the pipeline in situ as buried nuclear waste. Road transport of waste is in marked containers on flat-bed low-loaders or by container truck. An ever-growing number of drums containing Intermediate Level Waste is stored at AWE Aldermaston, but no 'hot' High Level Waste is produced by, or stored at AWE.

3. 4.

5. 6.

WASTE FROM DECOMMISSIONING
1. 2. 3. The decommissioning of contaminated dis-used equipment and buildings creates radioactive emissions to the environment. The pace of decommissioning affects the rate of emissions. Local groups are concerned that Public Health must be prioritised over economic and every other factor. AWE has applied to the Environment Agency (EA) to vary their limits to enable the disposal of increased quantities of waste, before reducing the amount later. (Radioactive Waste Arisings Proposals Feb.'98). The EA has asked for clarification on several parts of AWE's proposals and has organised public meetings for the issues to be discussed.

4.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
NUKEWATCH INFORMATION SHEET No 4

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PUBLIC SAFETY AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. Local Authorities along convoy routes and near fixed sites, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), are required to make contingency plans to deal with a nuclear accident. The MoD issues Local Authorities Emergency Services Information (LAESI- 3) Guidelines to cover emergency arrangements for road accidents involving nuclear weapons, nuclear materials and new fuel for nuclear submarines. Rail carriage of spent submarine reactor fuel is also covered. The Local Authorities Association and MoD working group's annual review meeting has lapsed. Public safety plans for the shelter and evacuation of civilians, in the event of a nuclear transportation accident, are intended to provide adequate protection for the community. Long-term consequences of the accidental contamination of land and property, in the event of a nuclear transportation accident, have not been adequately addressed. Local Authorities and the emergency services are not forewarned of nuclear convoy movements within their area, whether on land, sea or air. Many Local Authorities have only part-time Emergency Planning Officers. Under the LAESI guidelines, Local Authorities and the emergency services are asked to commit themselves to provide a service and level of care which they cannot actually deliver - inviting litigation against them from injured parties.

2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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NEW WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT
1. Government policy states that the UK has no plans to develop any new types of nuclear weapons. (MoD letter 17 March 2004) In 2002 the AWE Strategy Development Plan to build new infrastructure at Aldermaston to test nuclear weapons without recourse to underground testing was announced. In October 2003, the first Notice of Proposed Development, for a new laser facility, was submitted to the local authority. After hundreds of objections and an adverse legal opinion, the plan was withdrawn, but the MoD is committed to re-submission with supporting environmental information. In 2003, the MoD AWE Management Ltd contract was extended to 25 years, at a cost of £5.3 billion.

2.

3.

4.

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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ACCIDENTS, NEAR MISSES AND ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGES
Below – and on the following sheet – are a series of tables showing nuclear weapons related accidents in recent years

Accidents
1. 2. April 1973, near the RN Armament Depot, Coulport . February 1974, off Malta Minor vehicle collision, Polaris convoy. No damage to weapons. Handling incident on board ship involving a WE177 weapon. Some scratching of protective material. No damage to weapon. Protective diaphragm compressed on to Polaris missile. No damage to missile or warheads. Handling incident involving Polaris missile. No damage to missile or warheads. Protective diaphragms compressed onto Polaris missiles. No damage to missiles or warheads. Road traffic accident involving Polaris convoy. Minor damage to RAF vehicle. No damage to warheads. Road traffic accident involving WE177 convoy. Minor damage to one vehicle. No damage to ontainerised weapons. Ministry of Defence Table *Note: 7. A warhead carrier skidded off an icy lane, landing on its side in a field. 1. 2. . 3. 4. Questions arising from a near-miss nuclear accident at RAF Wittering (Oct.'97) when a Harrier crashed 800 yards from a loaded convoy have not been resolved. A “near-miss” air incident occurred involving a flight from RAF Brize Norton (24 May '98), on the same flight path as Special Nuclear Materials flights to the USA. The local water supply was contamination by AWE Burghfield (June'98). The serious contamination of a worker and Health Physicists put at risk (Dec.'97) Nukewatch Reports

3. 4. 5. 6.

1974, at sea August 1977, RNAD Coulport 1981, at sea August 1983, M8 near Glasgow

7.

January 1987, in Wiltshire*

NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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Recent Prosecution and Conviction History of the Ministry of Defence for AWE Aldermaston
Date 1. 2. November 1996 December 1997 Location Blue Circle Ltd land adjacent to AWE Glove-box building Offence Radioactive contamination of land AWE plc Negligence under the Nuclear Installations Act, Ionising Radiation Regs. & Health & Safety at Work Act leading to the serious contamination of a worker and Health Physicists put at risk Environment Agency Enforcement Notice served for discharging 50% more Tritium gas into the atmosphere than AWE reported AWE Liquid Discharges of Tritium into the stream without an authorising licence Environment Agency required closure of the pipes by 2005 because residual plutonium & uranium contaminated scale from the pipes is being discharged into the Thames Conviction Yes Yes Compensation £6.6 million Fine

Costs

£2,000

£8,000

3.

August 1999

Tritium handling building due for decommissioning Aldermaston Stream 18 Km Pipeline from AWE to the River Thames at Pangbourne

N/A

4.

December 1999

Yes

Costs

£4,500

£17,500

5.

March 2000

N/A

Evaporator now under construction

Nuclear Information Service

NUCLEAR ACCIDENT EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The MoD Reports of exercises held to test procedures for dealing with an accident involving nuclear weapons are classified or “management in confidence documents.” (Defence Minister Spellar 14/08/97) The following recommendations recur exercise after exercise: - liaison between military and civil participants needs to be improved - accident scenarios do not test emergency plans to a realistic level - Local Authorities Emergency Planning response needs to be speeded up - the impossibility of alerting the public quickly enough has to be recognised - the model of how the media might respond in should be made public - potassium iodate tablets should be stored at pre-distribution points The MoD decision to 'sink the submarine' in Exercise "Short Sermon" (Nov.'98 ) is a questionable solution. Calderdale Council joined The Association of Nuclear Free Local Authorities as a result of taking part in an exercise in June 1997. The MoD updated Local Authorities Emergency Services Information (LAESI)- 3 Guidelines now include emergency arrangements for spent fuel from nuclear submarines and nuclear materials convoys.

2.

3. 4. 5.

The Local Authorities Association and MoD working group's annual review meeting has lapsed.
NUKEWATCH is an independent, non-aligned volunteer network carrying out Citizen Verification of nuclear weapons transport in the community by monitoring the transport of nuclear weapons and materials in Britain. For more information: Tel/Fax:+44 (0)23 8055 4434 e-mail: office@nukeinfo.org.uk April 2004
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Description: NUCLEAR WARHEAD TRANSPORT ROUTES SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIALS (SNM