Sunday, 1 July 2018

The pressing contemporary relevance of nuclear free zones

Letter sent to The Times:

Your chief political correspondent, Lucy Fisher, asserts that “remarkably, it turns out that 40 councils in Britain and Ireland are still affiliated to  the Nuclear Free Local authorities group [NFLAs] (“Labour cares more about purity than votes,” June 30;
She does not explain why this is deemed remarkable, but does cite in support of her argument an un-named  “centrist” Labour  campaigner  who “snorted”- apparently derisively- about  the Labour left backing for  “nuclear free zones.”

Lucy’s picture (and the fact she graduated from university in 2011) suggests she is still in her twenties, so may not have experience on the origin and accomplishments of the nuclear free zone movements, which are not only backed by local councils but by many countries ( eg the whole of South America is a nuclear [weapons] free zone) and the United Nations.

One of President Trump’s aims in his diplomatic initiative with North Korea is to create nuclear free zone in the Korean peninsula. Ten years ago  even Israel’s then prime minister  joined collection of Arab leaders in signing the Final declaration the Paris of Mediterranean countries, held on 13 July 2008, which inter alia,  called for “a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems.” (

Of many constructive achievements by the UK and  Ireland NFLAs is their work in pressing Government  in Whitehall to re-assess the ‘fitness-for-purpose’ of evacuation zones around  a fixed nuclear facilities and procedures dealing with  accidents involving nuclear materials in transport.(‘ NFLA Policy Briefing 172: Evacuations after Severe Nuclear Accidents’ February 2018,

Two years ago the group issued serious, scholarly independent detailed study on the worrisome prospect of failures of the security apparatus protecting  nuclear plants and materials in transport, for which I did the research (‘NFLA Policy Briefing 145: Nuclear security concerns – how secure is the UK civil nuclear sector?, May 2016,

Lucy should not be so keen to dismiss the solid serious research work done by the NFLA group with  small ( but high value-added)  financial support from concerned  local authorities.

No comments:

Post a Comment