Abolition 2000 is a worldwide network working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Press release: 5/11/2006, Block the Builders

As 25,000 people took to the streets of London yesterday calling for action on climate
change, data from scientists, industry bodies and researchers, suggests that the cost of
replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system - "could almost guarantee emission
reductions from 150m tonnes of carbon a year today to the necessary level of around 60m
tonnes by 2030."

As John Vidal highlighted in Saturday's Guardian "The latest Trident costs, calculated by
the Liberal Democrats based on information extracted in parliamentary answers, suggest an
overall figure of £76bn to buy missiles, replace nuclear submarines, and maintain the
system for 30 years"(1).

Colin Challen, Labour chair of the all-party parliamentary group on climate change said,
"We can't fight climate change militarily and it's the greatest threat we face.
Logically, that means we don't spend money on Trident but on mitigation and adaptation
measures for climate change."

On 13 November activists from nonviolent direct action campaign Block the Builders will
be back at AWE Aldermaston, Berkshire to attempt to halt construction work on new
buildings at AWE Aldermaston, including the controversial Orion laser facility.

Work to build Europe's largest laser began in earnest over the summer and cranes and
heavy plant are now on site. The Ministry of Defence are also in the process of
requesting planning permission for an associated £60m "campus style" office development
covering 24ha of the site (24 Trafalgar Squares).(2)

The government has repeatedly stated that it intends to tell parliament its plans for the
future of Britain's nuclear weapons programme by the end of this year(3). It is expected
to publish a White Paper.

However, campaigners argue that the future of Britain's WMD has already been determined
by the massive investment programme in new nuclear weapons facilities currently being
undertaken by the MoD and AWE. AWE themselves have suggested that the development at
Aldermaston is comparable to that of Heathrow's Terminal 5 requiring more than 1000
contractors, and anticipate recruiting another 1000 staff to work at the Berkshire site
by 2012. (4)

A spokesperson for Block the Builders said "Whatever the politicians say, we can see with
our eyes what is happening on the ground at AWE", adding, "Along with the strong moral or
ethical arguments about indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction, it's also a question
of priorities. As we've seen well-argued in today's Guardian, we could invest in WMD or
we could invest a similar amount in mitigating against the worst effects of climate
change. Most people know where real security lies and recent polls suggest that around
60% of people would rather the money be spent elsewhere".(5)


1. Guardian, 4 November 2006:
2. West Berkshire District Council: http://tinyurl.com/ylgtwd
3. See, for example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4805768.stm
4. See 4.1.1 Preliminary Evaluation of the Transport Implications of the SDCP, August 2006.
5. June 2006 ICM poll. See http://www.cnduk.org/pages/campaign/ntdtrep.html

**For an overview of the 22 new developments proposed at AWE, see "PLANNING SUPPORTING
STATEMENT" at http://tinyurl.com/ylgtwd.
**For background on Block the Builders, see http://www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
**To read previous AWE development-related material, see