War Resisters International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and affiliates plan to blockade Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston to protest what they regard as the country's illegal development of nuclear weapons. A proposal for a long-term storage facility at Aldermaston for enriched uranium -- plus the approach of the pivotal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May -- are likely to swell the numbers and increase the disruption and the arrests.
The affiliates include campaigners Trident Ploughshares and anti-NATO and anti-Afghanistan groups. Protesters have been demonstrating against Britain's nuclear weapons facilities for decades, with some locking themselves to old cars and caravans to block entrances to the sites. The same groups plan to stage coordinated protests at all of Europe's nuclear weapon facilities over Easter and during the May NPT Review conference in New York. Aldermaston has been known as a place of protest for the last 50 years, and 2008 was the 50th anniversary of the first CND action there. A CND demonstration at Aldermaston in Mar 2008 marked the anniversary. A group of women has assembled there on the second Saturday of each month since the 1980s to object to the continuing development of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent. The government banned the practice in 2008. The handling and storage facilities for the nuclear material are housed in a number of different buildings, many of which were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. So-called Project Pegasus would see these old buildings decommissioned and demolished to make way for the new long-term nuclear storage facility. Anti-nuclear pressure group the Nuclear Information Service has branded the project a waste of money which, it claims, sends out a signal that Britain intends to develop a new generation of warheads. UPDATED Jan/10
Date written/update: 2010-02-15