Trident Must Be Destroyed, Not Given to Westminster 275


There appears to be a presumption that upon Scottish Independence, the Trident submarine fleet and its incredibly destructive WMD’s must simply be handed over to Westminster by Holyrood. That is wrong in international law; if the weapons remain on the territory of Scotland, a sovereign state, it will be for the Scottish Government to dispose of them as it chooses.

The principle is well-established and there is a directly relevant and recent precedent in the nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the highly mobile tactical nuclear weapons were swiftly taken back to Russia but the Trident comparators, the strategic nuclear weapons with their silos and the Tupolev strategic bomber fleet and its weapons, were destroyed, many inside Ukraine itself, following the Budapest Agreement of 1994 between the US, UK, Russia and Ukraine and separate bilateral agreements between Ukraine and France, and Ukraine and China.


This photo is of a Ukrainian technician dismantling a SS-19 missile at a US government funded facility at Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. [Russia of course breached the Budapest Agreement when it invaded Crimea, but that does not impact on the legal precedent of Ukraine’s right to dispose of the missiles on its territory].

There is no doubt that in international law, independent Scotland will be under no obligation to hand the Trident system over to Westminster. By taking another route, and seeking the dismantling of the Trident system under international auspices while ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, START and its protocols and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Scotland will earn great kudos at the United Nations. Making this intent plain at the time of the Declaration of Independence will help secure for Scotland the developing country votes which Scotland will need at the UN General Assembly, recognition by which is the defining test for a country’s Independence.

Scotland has a moral obligation to the world to destroy nuclear weapons on its territory. It is also the case that it should be a simple matter to mobilise international aid funding for the cost of decommissioning and dismantling the Trident nuclear fleet and its missiles – a process in which China, Russia, the USA, France and Westminster should be invited to participate. In fact, the decommissioning work would take years and would bring an economic boost to Scotland, providing far more work than the simple maintenance and operation of the nuclear fleet ever has.

The United Kingdom is a rogue state. It invaded Iraq in a blatantly illegal war of aggression, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands, displacing millions and setting the economic development of the country back 50 years. It significantly contributed to the similar destruction of Libya. It has brazenly defied the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice in refusing to decolonise the Chagos Islands. It is passing legislation to grant its soldiers immunity from war crimes charges and its secret service officers and agents immunity for murder and torture. To hand Trident missiles, and the capacity to unleash the destruction of the human race, over to the control of this erratic, declining imperial construct would be grossly irresponsible.

An Independent Scotland must not allow WMD to be operational from its territory for one single minute after Independence. We cannot prevent the UK from moving the Trident system out of Scotland before Independence is finalised – in which case we will at least achieve the system being non-operational for about ten years while a new base is constructed, which will itself be a worthwhile achievement.

We in the SNP have to stop pretending to be anti-Trident while expecting to be complicit in a transition plan to let Westminster keep operating Trident. That is an immoral stance and a grossly hypocritical stance.

You don’t negotiate over WMD. You destroy them.

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275 thoughts on “Trident Must Be Destroyed, Not Given to Westminster

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  • Taxiarch

    Dear Craig, thanks for yet another stimulating read and to other posters for their thoughts.
    Independent Scotland will need to decide whether to remain within NATO; if it does the price seems certain to include maintaining a facility for NATO nukes. If it does not, other alternatives can arise.

    Scotland will not, of course be the first element of the British Atlantic empire to become independent of the crown. The most recent departure is of course the Republic of Ireland, and a regard to the arrangements as to British military security at the time of the 19821 Anglo Irish Treaty is illuminating. In particular, the Treaty established three “Treaty Ports” at Queenstown/Cobh, Lough Swilly and Berehaven in County Cork to address active military concerns about U-boats intertdicting Atlantic trade. These were ultimately (reluctantly) surrendered in 1938.

    Much as I would approve the dismantling of the damnable things, I also see that the most likely outcome would be to declare Faslane – albeit temporarily – Little England. England keeps its NATO nukes and a seat at the UN security council, Scotland keeps most of its conscience, and the US military doesn’t spike the whole thing.

    • BrianFujisan

      Interesting Last Paragraph Taxiarch…

      I live on the Clyde..I can See Faslane from my home… I hate being doon the coast for some Photos..only to see the Subs sailing out there. we were up at Faslane a couple of years ago..
      I took a wee video
      ..The Number of Police at this Peaceful March was Vile –

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTJ1ypsdF-U

      Also on MY river David Newbigging film – Last time I met David he was going do another crowd fund. –

      https://davidnewbigging.co.uk/projects/rROAPE

      Great Post Craig ..I hadn’t thought of that Angle

      • Taxiarch

        I take your point; although my membership has, to be honest, lapsed removing the damn things would be a benefit to all humanity. The Kursk incident (amongst others) serves as reminder that even when they are not killing others they are unsafe.

  • mogabee

    Post independence the country of Scotland has massive leverage over the country of England with regard to Faslane and Coulport.

    Leverage means we have the upper hand in all negotiations!

    Just contemplate that folks and start writing your shopping list!!!

    • Goose

      Trade off a 10-20 year lease against Scotland’s share of the UK National debt.

      From December 2013 (pre-referendum) : the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that by 2016-17, UK debt will be £1.6 trillion. Debt interest charges will be £64.4bn. Using the population method, Scotland’s share of the debt would be £132bn. This will exceed 80 per cent of Scotland’s GDP. 2016-17, UK debt will be £1.6 trillion. Debt interest charges will be £64.4bn. Using the population method, Scotland’s share of the debt would be £132bn. This will exceed 80 per cent of Scotland’s GDP.

      That was back then, It’s over £2 trillion now with the pandemic about to make things much worse.

      • Republicofscotland

        “Trade off a 10-20 year lease against Scotland’s share of the UK National debt.”

        What debt, pre the 2014 independence referendum David Cameron said the rUK would vouch for the national debt, of course there was all manner of deals banded about, such as if Scotland received 8% of UK assets (afterall our taxes help pay for stuff) then Scotland would on independence take a share of the national debt.

        Scotland is already covertly charged for all manner of projects that it sees no benefit of. Westminster also covertly steals Scotland’s wealth.

        https://www.businessforscotland.com/revealed-the-accounting-trick-that-hides-scotlands-wealth/

        • bevin

          “Scotland is already covertly charged for all manner of projects that it sees no benefit of. Westminster also covertly steals Scotland’s wealth.”

          This is generally true of the population of the United Kingdom, and has been since the founding of the Bank of England. You are surely not arguing that the English or Welsh people are deriving any benefits from Scots taxes?

      • Cubby

        Goose

        It’s funny how all you financial experts always forget to mention a share of the assets of the UK.

        Scotland and England created the UK as equal partners. As there was no prenuptial agreement signed at the creation of the union an equal share of the assets and debts seems correct.

    • Blissex

      «the country of Scotland has massive leverage over the country of England with regard to Faslane and Coulport.»

      Sure, dreams are nice, but why start an adventure by making enemies of both UK and the USA, and of all scottish voters who feel strong ties to England? Great idea, and anyhow of course neither UK not the USA have any history of meddling with and wrecking other “recalcitrant” countries. It must be like Missolini said: “many enemies, much honour”.

      There is a big middle ground between opportunism and adventurism, and while opportunism is defeatist, adventurist also leads to defeat quite often.

  • Republicofscotland

    The problem with retaining the notion of leasing Faslane to England, is that the Scottish government would soon get used to the money, and any agreed lease would more than likely be extended depending which party held power in Scotland. Eventually you end up back at square one where Scotland would house the nukes on a long term deal, at a cut down cost, so no that idea isn’t one that I’d promote myself.

    No better to have them sail away South of the border.

    And there’s this.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/trident-whistleblower-william-mcneilly-claims-it-easier-enter-sensitive-nuclear-weapons-installations-most-nightclubs-10256832.html

    And this.

    https://theferret.scot/faslane-500-nuclear-safety-incidents/

    Not to mention the pollution in the area from nuclear subs.

    I’m reminded of the USA’s base in Okinawa Japan, which has poisoned the whole area including the water supply, the nukes, and the subs must be removed permanently.

    https://theintercept.com/2020/11/07/military-pfas-pollution-japan/

    • Goose

      The membership would have some say. Really, if there’s that little confidence in the ability to shape Holyrood parties’ policies post independence, then that’s like admitting to having no confidence in independence.

      • Republicofscotland

        Are you naive enough to think that unionist branch office parties at Holyrood would suddenly drop the interests of Westminster over that of Holyrood after independence, even when one of the parties eventually get into government in Scotland? If Trident hasn’t been removed by then, then there’s the possibility it never will.

        • Goose

          Any decision would likely prove controversial.

          Scotland could adopt Switzerland’s “direct” democracy approach. Decide such issues via referendums, the Swiss (population 8.5 million) throw proposals out to their citizens. Trust the people.

        • Cubby

          ROS

          Simple solution.

          The deal (take it or we destroy the nukes) is as follows:

          First year lease – £5billion

          Second year lease – £10 Billion

          Third year lease – £20 billion

          Fourth year lease – £40 billion

          Fifth year lease – £80 billion.

          Sixth year lease – £160 billion

          Seventh year lease – £320 billion

          Eight year lease – £640 billion

          This will help with funds to clear up the mess that will be left behind and also provide significant motivation to Westminster get them to hell out of Scotland.

    • Natasha

      Nuclear weapons are always BAD, but here’s why “have them sail away South of the border” is not the best possible idea:-

      Instead of recycling fear based anti-nuclear rhetoric[*], why not recycle the MASSIVE energy embedded in post-independence Scotland’s nuclear-weapon war-head stash to generate electricity for all of Scotland, enough for a few hundred years or so? Weapons grade plutonium is fuel for Generation 4 reactors e.g. GE Hitachi PRISM. In July 2012, GEH submitted a feasibility report to the NDA showing that the PRISM could provide a cost-effective way of quickly dealing with the UK’s plutonium stockpile. The feasibility report includes an assessment from the consultancy firm DBD Limited suggesting there are “no fundamental impediment(s)” to the licensing of the PRISM in the UK. A 2012 Guardian article pointed out that a new generation of fast reactors such as the PRISM “could dispose of the waste problem, reducing the threat of radiation and nuclear proliferation, and at the same time generate vast amounts of low-carbon energy”. David J. C. MacKay, chief scientist at the DECC, was quoted as saying that British plutonium contains enough energy to run the country’s electricity grid for 500 years
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(reactor)
      https://nuclear.gepower.com/build-a-plant/products/nuclear-power-plants-overview/prism1
      https://nationalcenter.org/NuclearFastReactorsSA1205.pdf

      Scientific American summarised nuclear waste recycling technology in 2005: “Fast-neutron reactors could extract much more energy from recycled nuclear fuel, minimize the risks of weapons proliferation and markedly reduce the time nuclear waste must be isolated.”

      [*] – In fact no actual nuclear radiation leakages or any danger or injuries at all in the link you give: just a list of 505 operational “events” over 14 years, correct? Also, the intercept link is about PFAS pollution, which is organic, first noted in the 1940s – as such you appear to unnecessarily confuse issues.

      • Drew Anderson

        I’m not fundamentally opposed to the idea of nuclear power, but the fact is Scotland just doesn’t need to utilise it. We have enough renewable energy as things stand & the potential to harvest significantly more.

        By the time our current nuclear capacity has been decommissioned, we’ll be more than self-sufficient in wind & hydro. By that stage I’d think we’ll be tapping in to tidal’s vast potential, hopefully as a global leader in the associated engineering & technology.

      • nevermind

        Here we go again, it mudt be a great job shilling for the nuclear industry. A history littered with dangerous accidents and pollution cant be argued away with newer blinging technology, when we have benign means to generate what we and others need.
        You could help by stopping your advertisments here and support Desertecs sleeping project by arguing against thieving wars in the middle east.

        • Natasha

          nevermind, Instead of persisting in recycling unreferenced not-peer reviewed ignorance with ‘ad hominem’ that I’m somehow “shilling [**] for the nuclear industry” for which you have zero evidence of, I invite you instead to respond to my fully linked and referenced by peer review message.

          “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” – Thomas Paine

          Drew, Please see below why thermodynamics rules out ever being”self-sufficient in wind & hydro”.

          Using Julian Assange’s gift of ‘scientific journalism’ step by step I will dissect nevermind’s claim that “we have benign means to generate [energy]” as fatally fact free ideology:-

          1. Wind & solar renewable energy plant build-out / maintenance / life-cycle replacement requires orders of magnitude MORE fossil fuels than nuclear plant or fossil fuel plants build out /maintenance do.

          https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960×0/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjamesconca%2Ffiles%2F2019%2F03%2FMaterials-New.jpg

          Solar and wind farms require between 400 and 750 times more land than nuclear and natural gas plants.
          https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2019/09/04/why-renewables-cant-save-the-climate/?sh=2ecb92df3526

          2. Desertecs is sleeping because it’s a disgusting example of ignorant colonial exploitative ‘extractivism’ chasing a technology that ignores the thermodynamics of mining and manufacturing needed, even for a tiny build out for local supply only. For example just the water consumption alone for the Ouarzazate Noor complex is estimated at 2.5 to 3 million m3 per year for one wet-cooling project (Noor I) and two dry – cooling projects (Noor II and III), due to the need to clean the reflectors regularly with high-pressure water hoses and brushes from trucks. Its obviously impossible to scale-up this water usage by much at all.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec#Obstacles
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouarzazate_Solar_Power_Station#Water_use
          https://cadtm.org/Extractivism-and-resistance-in-North-Africa
          https://www.columbancenter.org/what-extractivism
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extractivism
          https://popularresistance.org/extractivism-and-resistance-in-north-africa/

          3. In 2019 solar supplied 1.1% of global energy supply, wind 2.18% and fossil fuels 85% and rising. But fossil fuel supplies are getting too inefficient = £xpe$ive to extract, already squeezing economies towards systemic collapse – why else indeed the Middle East wars last few decades?
          https://www.iea.org/search/charts?q=Global%20oil%20demand%20by%20scenario%20between%202010%20and%202040
          https://www.thegwpf.com/michael-kelly-a-challenge-for-renewable-energies/
          https://ourfiniteworld.com/2020/10/15/fossil-fuel-production-is-reaching-limits-in-a-strange-way/

          Conclusion: To replace big fossil’s 85% share by 30 times just to stand still, ignores the limits imposed by thermodynamics, let alone the question of how would we maintain GDP levels – which is entirely dependant on cheap enough energy supply – whilst allocating increasingly scarce and expensive fossil fuel supplies for such a massive solar & wind a build out? (Hydro expansion globally is already at near maximum available land limits, ignoring the terrible environmental and social impacts).

          Even a ten fold increase would be impossible given ‘extractivism’ and other land and mining expansions necessary. Nuclear’s 4.2% of energy supply is also very difficult to expand, but an order or more magnitude less impactful on our environment. In fact nuclear is the least polluting of all energy sources by far.

          The most dangerous Nuclear power station is the one that doesn’t get built. When Nuclear plants aren’t built, or are shut down, fossil fuels are burned and people will needlessly die.

          Per kilo-watt hour of power generated : Natural Gas kills 38 times as many more people as Nuclear Power; Biomass 63 times; Petroleum 243; and Coal 387 times as many, perhaps a million globally a year (p147).
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Now

          Energy sector related accident fatalities : global average deaths/millionGWhr: Coal (170,000); Oil (36,000); Biofuel/Biomass (24,000); Natural Gas (4,000); Hydro (1,400); Solar rooftop (440); Wind (150);
          https://www.statista.com/statistics/494425/death-rate-worldwide-by-energy-source/

          Nuclear worst case estimates (90); Chernobyl (total direct deaths 47); Nuclear – commercial power plants only rest of the world (0). In equivalent lives lost per gigawatt generated annually : Coal = 37; Oil = 32; Gas = 2; Nuclear = 1 (i.e. loss of life expectancy from human exposure to pollutants) [IAEA (1997), table 4, p. 44.]
          https://alexcoram.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/mathsnuclearumass2o13oooo1o.pdf
          https://www.nci.org/conf/rhodes/

          The 100% renewable unicorn has been repeatedly debunked , nevermind and others, anyone care to debunk the debunkers…?

          https://theconversation.com/energy-wonks-have-a-meltdown-over-the-us-going-100-percent-renewable-why-79834

          Finally, since Trident contains so much energy, if your aim nevermind and others here, is to get rid of all that dirty nasty horrible plutonium poison back to the English as fast as possible, why not call their bluff, order the GE Hitachi PRISM reactor, and then BINGO, the English would want it all asap for their greedy selves? Win win for everyone, no?
          https://www.vibrantcleanenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Backgrounder_Clacketal_June2017.pdf

          • Iain Stewart

            Keep it up Natasha. I appreciate your counter intuitive arguments, which nobody has yet answered.

          • IMcK

            Hello Natasha.
            Interesting post and I should spend some time reading the attachments but maybe I can just put a few initial thoughts to yourself.
            The claims of a ready solution to disposal of weapons grade Plutonium whilst supporting a virtually inexhaustible energy supply strike me as somewhat idealistic:
            i. Whilst the proposed Hitachi fast reactor is a development of prototype fast reactors, it is yet an unproven design.
            ii. The purpose of fast breeder reactors is to breed Plutonium (from the non-fissile isotope Uranium 238) and whilst this can be reused in fast and thermal reactors (this being the entire purpose of course to maximise energy liberated from the available fuel source), the claims of irradication of nuclear (fission) weapons proliferation must await the 500 or more years until the Plutonium supply is exhausted.
            iii. Given the availability of the Plutonium (ex weapons), breeding of more from Uranium 238 exacerbates the weapons proliferation potential rather than reduces it.
            iv. Are not the radioactive fission products from Plutonium as bad as those from Uranium
            v. The quantity of radioactive fission products would be related to the energy liberated albeit this would be contained within a lesser quantity of material owing to the high enrichment levels of the fuel within the fast reactor.
            vi. The fast reactor concept is based upon allying with thermal reactors and which would account for the majority of the Plutonium usage and thus the make-up of the fission products.
            vii. I have no knowledge of fast reactor design or of the operational experience gained from the prototypes but it is surely challenging on the following safety bases; volatility of liquid sodium in particular on contact with water; extremely high power density of the reactor core and associated susceptibility to rapid temperature changes; core being nearer criticality in the shutdown state owing to the high level of fuel enrichment.

            Re the ‘build out/maintenance’ energy usage it would be useful to know what your referenced websites are predicting (if they are) for the full life cycle of the various energy sources, expressed as a simple percentage or ratio eg electrical energy generated (sent out) vs. life cycle energy consumed.

            In summary I see your post as being a call for civil nuclear power and the reference to fast reactors being at best an aside (and more realistically a negative) with respect to prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is something of course that is slowly happening in the UK based on thermal reactors (and whose fuel could be Plutonium based) – Hinkley C in progress and Sizewell C likely to follow.

          • IMcK

            I’ve just scanned through the GE info sheet that you referenced and it does not mention the breeder element. But the claims of efficiency of fuel usage and recycling of used fuel from thermal reactors would suggest it is a breeder reactor.

          • Natasha

            Iain Stewart – Thank you!
            IMcK – Nuclear Weapons Proliferation risks are not increased by Nuclear Power technology. As long as there are physics, maths and engineering textbooks, the Nuclear proliferation problem will not go away, or lessen even if there are no civilian power reactors. All the technical knowledge to start a Nuclear weapons program can be found in physics and engineering text books. Nations that have developed Nuclear weapons without authorization under anti-proliferation treaties, have done so without possessing civilian Nuclear power industries. For example South Africa demonstrated that a limited number of Nuclear weapons could be built from scratch very cheaply.
            https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/how-south-africa-built-nuclear-weapons-and-then-gave-them-27066
            And Israel.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

            The BIG win of recycling weapons grade plutonium, from both the waste & proliferation perspective – which anti nuclear power campaigners have the most trouble with – is the reduction from c300,000 years storage, before the radiation is safe as background radiation, to only c 300 years, and since we already have a stock of weapons grade plutonium, what else would the anti-nuclear lobby do with it?

          • IMcK

            Natasha,
            I fear you are missing the point here. My take on your original posts and consistent with your response above is that your proposal reduces nuclear proliferation by using the Plutonium in the fast (breeder) reactor that you propose. But in fact the primary purpose of such reactors is to produce Plutonium – ‘fast’ neutrons escaping from the reactor core are ‘captured’ by Uranium 238 (which is non-fissile) arranged around the reactor core converting in into Plutonium. The increase in the availability of Plutonium can only exacerbate potential nuclear proliferation.

            I also point out in my post that the existing Plutonium stockpile can be used in thermal reactors and whose build is slowly proceeding in the UK – fast reactors are not required for this purpose. The purpose of having fast reactors would be to utilise the available Uranium much more efficiently since they allow the major constituent of natural Uranium ie non fissile Uranium 238 (or at least some of it) to be converted into fissile Plutonium.

          • Natasha

            Hi IMcK, Thank you for engaging, but its you who appears to be “missing the point.” I apologise if I have not been clear enough. Let me explain again.

            The proposal (its not ‘my proposal’ I am simply a messenger) is clear: Trident weapons grade plutonium is used up in PRISM type reactors designed to yield “FULL RECYCLING [whereby] Less than 1 percent is wasted.”

            I don’t dispute that “fast reactors are not required [because] the existing Plutonium stockpile can be used in thermal reactors”. Your deep-dive into nuclear physics has obscured the point of the proposal in my original post.

            First: here’s quotes from the December 2005 Scientific American article I linked to supporting the proposal:-

            “Fast-neutron reactors could extract much more energy from recycled nuclear fuel, minimize the risks
            of weapons proliferation and markedly reduce the time nuclear waste must be isolated.”

            PRISM type reactors:-

            “FULL RECYCLING – Existing excess weapons-grade plutonium can be degraded rapidly […] recycled fuel prepared by pyrometallurgical processing would be burned in advanced fast neutron reactors; prototype technology. Less than 1 percent is wasted.”

            Compared to:-

            “ONCE-THROUGH ROUTE – Fuel is burned in thermal reactors and is not reprocessed; occurs in the U.S. – 94 percent is wasted. Energy-rich used fuel isolated in containers and underground storage facilityWaste is radioactive enough to be defined as “self-protected” for a few hundred years against most groups wanting to obtain plutonium 239 for building nuclear weapons.”

            Compared to:-

            “PLUTONIUM RECYCLING – Fuel is burned in thermal reactors, after which plutonium is extracted using what is called PUREX processing; occurs in other developed nations – 95 percent is wasted. Energy-rich, highly stable glassy waste […] is radioactive enough to be defined as “self-protected” for a few hundred years against most groups wanting to obtain plutonium 239 for building nuclear weapons.”

            I haven’t disputed that “in fact the primary purpose of such reactors is to produce Plutonium”. That’s the whole point! (see above): it gets recycled i.e. burned up in nuclear reactions to make electricity! Once it burned-up that’s it, gone. But we’ve already made enough fuel i.e. waste from ‘Once Through’ and ‘Plutonium Recycling’ with 94-95% unused energy in the waste / fuel to last Scotland and the UK and Europe via interconnects for centuries.

            Second: you raise proliferation a second time, to which I’ve already assured you that text books + people + will-power are all that’s needed to make nuclear weapons. For example South Africa demonstrated that a limited number of Nuclear weapons could be built from scratch very cheaply. And Israel.

            https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/how-south-africa-built-nuclear-weapons-and-then-gave-them-27066

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

            Here’s what GE HITACHI say on the front page of their web site I linked to above:-

            “PRISM can recycle used nuclear fuel, generating electricity while reducing radiotoxicity from hundreds of thousands of years to hundreds of years, thereby reducing the footprint/cost of the geological repository.”

            https://nuclear.gepower.com/build-a-plant/products/nuclear-power-plants-overview/prism1

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(reactor)

            Yet you persist in such proven – by weight of evidence of the above quotes – errors of thought by writing: “The increase in the availability of Plutonium can only exacerbate potential nuclear proliferation” when in fact the opposite is true: a correctly designed reactor will burn 99% or more of all the plutonium, to make electricity. For hundreds of years.

            Seriously, what’s not to like about this proposal?

            (Please don’t waste time raising the microscopic possibility of technicians corrupting civil nuclear plant operations secretly extracting weapons grade plutonium and selling on the black market, that’s a Bond movies tale. Besides humans are not perfect and some of us are indeed psychopathic, but that’s a problem nuclear technology is very far from having any monopoly upon).

          • Natasha

            Addendum:

            “FULL RECYCLING – Existing excess weapons-grade plutonium can be degraded rapidly […] recycled fuel prepared by pyrometallurgical processing would be burned in advanced fast neutron reactors; prototype technology. Less than 1 percent is wasted. Tailored waste forms that would only have to remain intact for 500 years, after which material would no longer be hazardous Lacking plutonium, waste would not be useful for making weapons”

          • IMcK

            Natasha,

            It is clear you don’t understand the subject and rely on quotations covering various matters that you conflate together.

            I have taken a look at various wikipedia articles around the subject and it is clear that neither did I understand the subject or the latest proposals for reactors and I still don’t. The info is difficult to piece together and not comprehensive. However the basic principles of my posts are correct and I will present some salient points distilled from the information I have seen. I feel you will not understand the concepts but I hope you will not revert to talking about Bond movies as you did in your most recent commentary.

            i. PRISM is a Reactor design concept based on the ‘sodium cooled fast breeder reactor’ and allied with on site reprocessing facilities
            ii. The fuel for PRISM is a mixture of Plutonium and Uranium alloyed with Zirconium
            iii. The heat generating nuclear reaction is fission of Uranium 235 and Plutonium 239
            iv. The ‘breeder’ reaction is Uranium 238 to Plutonium 239
            v. The fuel is reprocessed on site via an ‘electrometallurgical’ process
            vi. The reprocessed fuel is recycled into the PRISM reactor

            It is not made clear but I believe viability of the concept is dependant upon breeding of Plutonium from Uranium. That is to say it is not proposed (irrespective of whether it is technically feasible) simply to use the Plutonium stockpile as fuel without Uranium. Also not made clear, but in suggesting that the concept is to extract maximum energy from the fuel, this is directed at utilising the ‘breeder’ element where Plutonium is bred from the available Uranium stocks eg from stocks of ‘Depleted Uranium’ (ie Uranium 238) reprocessed from existing reactors. Thus in the interim, until the process is complete and which would take many hundreds of years given the massive amounts of energy available within the Uranium stockpiles, the amount of Plutonium would at best slowly reduce or possibly even increase – albeit the concept is this would all remain on site. There is no clarity or explanation to back up the claim that Plutonium stockpiles would be quickly dealt with.

            PRISM also references depletion of ‘actinides’ within existing reprocessed stocks but this is not the subject of our discussion.

          • Natasha

            IMcK, You have given me opportunity to further strengthen the proposal to ‘Recycle Trident for energy security’. Thanks again for engaging with this topic. SNP President candidate Craig Murray can now be even more confident in a 25 word campaign slogan like this:-

            “I’m standing for democratic Scottish Independence NOW under international law not Westminster veto. Publicly owned health services. Recycle Trident for energy security. Free Julian Assange.”

            The message ‘Recycle Trident for energy security’ is scientifically and technically robust and very clear indeed:-

            Existing excess weapons-grade plutonium such as contained in Trident war heads currently stored in Scotland can be degraded rapidly (i.e. vastly reducing proliferations and leakage risks of otherwise storing it for hundreds of thousands of years underground) by using it as fuel for PRISM type nuclear power reactors designed to yield FULL RECYCLING whereby more than 99% of the contained energy is used to generate electricity for all of Scotland and sell it to its European neighbours for HUNDREDS of years. Less than 1 percent is wasted. Tailored waste forms would only have to remain intact for 500 years, after which it would lack plutonium, no longer be hazardous and be useless for making weapons.

            In 1957 General Electric developed the first civil nuclear power plant connected to a commercial power grid:-

            “PRISM reactor can recycle used nuclear fuel, generating electricity while reducing radiotoxicity from hundreds of thousands of years to hundreds of years, thereby reducing the footprint/cost of the geological repository […] PRISM reactor builds on sodium-cooled reactor experience first pioneered in 1951.”

            https://nuclear.gepower.com/build-a-plant/products/nuclear-power-plants-overview/prism1

            https://www.theengineer.co.uk/prism-project-a-proposal-for-the-uks-problem-plutonium/

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_(reactor)

            In 2002 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published “clarity or explanation to back up [this] claim” :-

            “Development and testing activities are already underway, and demonstrations of conversion of plutonium weapons components to oxide, immobilization of plutonium in large waste canisters, and use of fuel made from weapons plutonium in reactors are planned for the next several years.”

            https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/us-program-disposition-excess-weapons-plutonium

            In April 2014 this was again confirmed by the US Department of Energy: Report of the Plutonium Disposition Working Group: Analysis of Surplus Weapon‐Grade Plutonium Disposition Options: [p14] 5.2.2 OPTION 2: IRRADIATION OF PLUTONIUM FUEL IN FAST REACTORS [including from nuclear weapons]:-

            “This option would involve the use of plutonium fuel for irradiation in domestic fast‐spectrum burner reactors, which would require the construction of an Advanced Disposition Reactor (ADR), which is similar to General Electric Hitachi’s Power Reactor Innovative Small Module (PRISM). Unique attributes of these reactors include: 1) the ability to use metal fuel; 2) impurity tolerance in the fuel; and, 3) higher plutonium loadings. […] Metal fuel was chosen because of the operating experience in the U.S., passive safety characteristics, and compatibility with the plutonium feedstock. For the proposed fast‐spectrum burner reactor option, plutonium metal resulting from the disassembly of nuclear weapons pits along with other stocks of clean plutonium metal would be used to charge a casting furnace directly, in which the plutonium would be blended with uranium metal and zirconium metal.”

            http://fissilematerials.org/library/doe14a.pdf

            In 2018 Idaho National Laboratory (INL) selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) PRISM technology to support the US Department of Energy’s Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) programme. The project is looking at what would be needed to establish a reactor-based fast-spectrum neutron irradiation capability for the USA by 2026.

            https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/PRISM-selected-for-US-test-reactor-programme

            In 2020 the US based ‘Nuclear Threat Initiative’ (NTI) published support for the proposal to ‘Recycle weapons grade plutonium for energy security’ as part of its campaign for a ‘Safer World 2020 Engaging U.S. voters about the urgency to reduce nuclear and other WMD threats’:-

            “Plutonium Disposition Options […] weapons-grade uranium […] can be rendered unusable for nuclear weapons by blending it with lower-grade uranium (a blend that can then be used as fuel in nuclear power plants)”.

            https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/plutonium-disposition-237/

            [IMcK, I trust the above has helped clarify your understanding and you are now a supporter of recycling weapons grade plutonium, since by your own admission you’ve failed to set out any coherent objections by writing: “it is clear that neither did I understand the subject or the latest proposals for reactors and I still don’t”.]

            Conclusion: there is a very high degree of confidence the above authorities support a ‘Recycle Trident for energy security’ message on scientifically and technically robust grounds. Candidate Craig Murray can refer objections to IAEA, the US Department of Energy, GE Hitachi, NTI, and others with full confidence.

            Seriously, what’s not to like about this proposal?

          • IMcK

            Natasha,

            We now have some more information on what is being proposed – thank you for this information. Of the various articles and various dates, the Engineer article of May 2013 is perhaps the most useful and also the US Department of Energy article of April 2014.

            There are a number issues that your posts and quotations conflate together. I won’t try to unpick them all but will address some salient points:

            i. Rendering of Weapons grade Plutonium as unusable
            ii. Depletion of Uranium and Plutonium within waste stockpiles from civil power reactors
            iii. Extraction of maximum energy from the available nuclear fuel stocks
            iv. Reducing nuclear toxicity of existing waste products

            The proposal appears to intend tackling the above in phases. However Engineer the article is very hazy about what is being proposed. The article does however state that the first process and to address item (i) would be to ‘Spike’ the UK Plutonium stockpiles, effectively radioactively contaminate them. It claims this could be done in 20 years of operation of a dual reactor unit. Presumably but again no clarity, even if the reactor were operating in breeder mode (Uranium as part of the fuel and possibly also within a ‘Uranium blanket’ surrounding the core), any bred Plutonium would also be spiked. The remaining issues (ii to iv) would then be addressed but there is no discussion of strategy, number of reactors, combination with thermal reactors (if relevant), ultimate timescales, technicalities etc.

            It is important to be aware that proposals to the extent they are made are very sketchy, the claims are based upon those of GE Hitachi, matters are currently in the development phase. PRISM is currently a design concept albeit based on prototypes variously but not comprehensively covering its different aspects – Sodium Cooled Fast Breeder Reactor with fuel in metallic form, fuel fabrication facilities, fuel reprocessing facilities. The concept is in the design and development phase in the US.

            I think it is worth just taking a look at one of the many claims that you have championed multiple times in your postings and twice challenging ‘seriously, what’s not to like’.

            “FULL RECYCLING – Existing excess weapons-grade plutonium can be degraded rapidly […] recycled fuel prepared by pyrometallurgical processing would be burned in advanced fast neutron reactors; prototype technology. Less than 1 percent is wasted. Tailored waste forms that would only have to remain intact for 500 years, after which material would no longer be hazardous Lacking plutonium, waste would not be useful for making weapons”

            The ostensible meaning of this claim is that the Plutonium is simply loaded into the reactor and an operational cycle later 1% of the fissile material remains and in a relatively benign condition to boot. The premise would be instantly dismissed by anybody with the slightest knowledge of nuclear reactor technology. Why? Because nuclear fission is a self sustaining chain reaction reliant upon a ‘critical mass’ of fissionable material – thus the ‘burn’ percentage is limited – maybe 20% might be achievable, not 99%. These matters are complicated by reactor poisoning and particularly in this case build up of Plutonium from Uranium. But then to combine this ridiculous claim with rapidly dealing with the Plutonium stocks, even if we dismiss the stinking great mammoth in the room of the Plutonium breeder element, would have the Marshans laughing like we’d still not invented ‘Smash’.

            We now see that the suggestion that rapid dealing with the Plutonium is merely ‘spiking’ it. And the suggestion that the spiking of the 200 tons of weapons grade Plutonium could be achieved with a double PRISM reactor module in 20 years. Even were this achievable and involving multiple quick operational cycles of the reactor we would then be left with 200 tons of now contaminated radioactive waste. Handling of nuclear waste is extremely difficult and problematical, it requires remote handling facilities, robotics, lead glass windows, contaminated areas etc etc. Where is this great stockpile of waste being handled? – why, within the PRISM ‘Module’ – presumably packed between the reactor/steam generating facilities, the fuel fabrication facilities and the electrochemical reprocessing facilities. Forget Bond, I think they must be deploying Tardis technology. I think you need to take a quick peak at an aerial view of the Sellafield complex.

            And then what is the future strategy for this waste – why, it gets consumed in the reactor alongside the waste Uranium stocks, breeding vast amounts of plutonium and yielding enormous amounts of energy and which would take such a limited facility thousands if not tens of thousands of years to achieve. 200 tons of additional contaminated waste, a contaminated module (or modules), the waste strategy committed for tens of thousands of years and … the unit would have to be decommissioned in 60 years.

            Handling of nuclear waste is a problematic and complex matter. This concept (PRISM) is a Japanese/American joint venture and currently in the design and development phase in the USA. Taking the matter forward to the operational stage would likely be proceeded by trials within limited facilities and based on limited quantities of Plutonium. I predict it will be decades before full scale deployment. I have no doubt they would be delighted if some country were to act in that capacity and finance it to boot. At this early stage and based on an initial assessment, I would council that it is not the UK.

            I am not positioning myself as being able to judge viability of the concept. As stated, it is a complex matter currently in the assessment phase and it does seem to have technical merit. I am cautioning that you present as well meaning, but as a ‘lamb to the slaughter’, susceptible to the ‘glossy brochure’ claims of vested interests. Even if you had an understanding of the basic technicalities, you would not be in a position to pay the homage that you do to the concept or the particular design and certainly not to start advising others of the way ahead for dealing with legacy nuclear waste stocks.

            In short calm down dear, its only a proposal (I’m sure you’ll forgive the little joke!)

          • Natasha

            IMcK, Let me try to make the proposal to ‘Burn Trident Nuclear War Heads for Electricity’ as simple as I can for you and other readers (as you seem to be having difficulties grasping it):-

            1] It is thermodynamically, politically, and environmentally IMPOSSIBLE for wind and solar power’s combined 2% contribution to global energy supply (and hydro, tides & geothermal’s 4%) to expand much at all, let alone even begin to replace fossil fuels 86% and rising contribution to global energy supply and rising CO2 emissions and AGW impacts (see my original comment above). The excellent blog post (linked below) puts the problem into a whole-economy ‘energy *is* the ‘master resource’ perspective, and exposes the error of thinking that somehow short term retail £$price of wind / solar power indicate anything meaningful at all about their medium, let alone long term infrastructure expansion possibilities.
            https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2020/06/18/can-the-world-get-along-without-natural-resources/
            https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287831825_Energy_as_Master_Resource

            2] Germany proves the ‘renewables are IMPOSSIBLE to scale-up’ assertion. The 2010 ‘Energiewende’ law is an historic error. In 2009 Germany emitted 788mt of CO2, but in 2017 this went up to 798mt and electricity prices have doubled in a decade. The country has spent something like a trillion euros on support for green energy, and is now building lots of coal-fired power to keep the lights on. At huge cost, Germany is learning that you cannot have a cheap, reliable, low-carbon grid without the high Energy Returned over Energy Invested (ERoEI) of nuclear power and has increased its CO2 emissions after shutting down its nuclear plants. France shows us the same pattern. Since September, its had to re-light four coal-fired power plants to offset the shutdown of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant and the lack of wind.
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/10/10/why-arent-renewables-decreasing-germanys-carbon-emissions/#1535649e68e1
            https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/ministry-projections-highlight-risk-germany-missing-emissions-goal
            https://ourworldindata.org/co2/country/germany?country=~DEU
            https://humanprogress.org/article.php?p=1236
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energiewende
            https://www.thegwpf.com/france-restarts-coal-power-plants-to-keep-the-lights-on/

            3] Human civilization is thus faced with a very stark choice:-

            a] We do nothing = existing civil nuclear power waste and war heads sitting in a hole for 300,000 years to decay to background radiation levels, with proliferation danger very hard to address at all. And we listen to silly straw man nonsense attacks on nuclear technology, with repeated ad hominem condescension [ e.g. a “ ‘lamb to the slaughter’, susceptible to the ‘glossy brochure’ claims of vested interests” ] as proxy for failing to knock down the very high degree of viability and confidence in the science and technology of civil nuclear powers ‘deal-breaker’ advantages over wind and solar power. Do we want human civilisation to just wither away, go back 200 years to candles at night and not even a shovel of coal to keep warm or run the trains. And half the remaining population digging fields for potatoes and rice to feed the half a million or so of us left on the planet? Because that is EXACTLY what all anti-nuclear rhetoric faces us with. Idyllic maybe, but stupidity beyond all measure.

            OR

            b] We burn i.e. recycle civil nuclear waste and war heads for electricity = existing civil nuclear power waste and war head waste reduced in volume by many orders of magnitude, with tiny amounts sitting in a hole for only 300 years to decay to background radiation levels, (compared to the do nothing option above), and with proliferation danger as fully addressed as is possible with todays current nuclear physics knowledge and technology. As recommended since the 1950s by multiple nuclear EXPERTS GLOBALLY (also see Russia & China in addition to US links in my comments above) who have been advocating designing and building nuclear electricity grid supply plants & prototypes as fast as they can.

            4] IMcK, why are you so intent to obscure this simple message? What is your aim here? Your “predict[ion] it will be decades before full scale deployment” is both wrong, and utterly and totally irrelevant: WE HAVE NO CHOICE. Plus if humans stop messing about, do the research and finance nuclear power build-out, we can do it in a tenth of the time, and modularise the power plants so it’ll cost a fraction of the one-off attempts the anti-nuclear power idiots always flag-up as deal breakers. Its already happening:-
            https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/rolls-royce-plans-fleet-16-162132844.html
            https://www.rolls-royce.com/products-and-services/nuclear/small-modular-reactors.aspx#/
            https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Alberta-to-explore-SMR-development
            https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Westinghouse-ready-to-make-SMR-fuel-in-UK

            This is a political blog – not a nuclear physics journal, so I have – on purpose – only linked to government departmental and NGO reports and ‘popular press’ and similar articles so readers here have a chance to understand what is being proposed in plain English.

            IMcK, on purpose, I have not given links to original scientific papers (I could have, and I can read and understand them – just – I’m a science & technology teacher, but so what?) but you seem to want to take issue with global nuclear power scientists and engineers and their published work over the last 80 or so years. Why? When you admit you are not up to the job(!): “I am not positioning myself as being able to judge viability of the concept.” Please don’t then! You are not helping you fellow humans by repeatedly tilting, ermm… at windmills 😉 and condemning us all to return to the pre industrial fossil fuel age of extreme energy scarcity and political feudalism.

            For example IMcK, in your ignorance / arrogance / emotional attachment to the anti-nuclear lie that bled over from the anti-nuclear war CND protests of the 1960’s onwards, which I went on too as teenager (Greenpeace hold your dirty lying hands up please!) you continue to ‘straw-man’ the plutonium recycling proposal which you claim is a “premise [that] would be instantly dismissed by anybody with the slightest knowledge of nuclear reactor technology. Why? Because nuclear fission is a self sustaining chain reaction reliant upon a ‘critical mass’ of fissionable material.”

            Erm… no. Nuclear reactions are NOT perpetual free energy / infinite waste producing machines! Even I know that and I’m just a low grade schoolteacher!

            If anyone has further questions and doubts about what the nuclear power experts have been SHOUTING to get us to listen to for 80 years that I’ve packaged-up here using the plain English they have written for lay people to understand, please direct your questions to them.

            Meanwhile IMcK, you have again failed to address the question: what is not to like about this proposal?

          • Natasha

            IMcK, No. You have gone off the topic of my much broader original comment and analysis starting with:-

            “1. Wind & solar renewable energy plant build-out / maintenance / life-cycle replacement requires orders of magnitude MORE fossil fuels than nuclear plant or fossil fuel plants build out /maintenance do.”

            … as background, and further reason to recycle Trident war head plutonium to secure the massive energy bonus contained therein, and adopt nuclear power as fast as possible, because *if* we want to continue with the modern civilisation and technology we now enjoy courtesy of fossil fuels beyond a decade or so: WE HAVE NO CHOICE. As a bonus, we also solve the 300,000 year problem of both nuclear proliferation and waste storage being reduced to 300years. But to which you are oddly silent in your haste to throw away nuclear power. Why?

            On a politics blog you have also gone off the topic with persistent deep-diving into nuclear physics, which you admit you have no expertise in, but then call foul play for my not addressing or correcting any mistakes, but in which you have made one fatal error, thereby not making your case at all. Let me quote your ‘max 20% ‘burn’ percentage fatal straw-man’ error in full:-

            “The ostensible meaning of this claim is that the Plutonium is simply loaded into the reactor and an operational cycle later 1% of the fissile material remains and in a relatively benign condition to boot. The premise would be instantly dismissed by anybody with the slightest knowledge of nuclear reactor technology. Why? Because nuclear fission is a self sustaining chain reaction reliant upon a ‘critical mass’ of fissionable material – thus the ‘burn’ percentage is limited – maybe 20% might be achievable, not 99%. These matters are complicated by reactor poisoning and particularly in this case build up of Plutonium from Uranium.”

            No. You are confusing existing generation 3 water cooled Uranium ceramic (oxide) rector nuclear fuel cycles, with the PRISM type Plutonium reactor generation 4 metal and other possible reactor cycles (e.g. Thorium).
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor#Metallic_fuel

            Your ‘straw-man’ error that ‘maybe 20% plutonium recycling guess’ is *not* supported by the literature, which gives 99% plutonium recycling in generation 4 reactors as in ALL the links I keep posting here repeatedly show. If your ‘only 20% guess’ is correct, then I am sure you can give us links to not-behind-paywall references, no?

            For example, see page 7 (marked p90) of this 2005 Scientific American article (also linked in my first post above) for the 99% recycle and 300year safe as background claims:-
            https://nationalcenter.org/NuclearFastReactorsSA1205.pdf

            Such a fatal error amounts to a perpetual motion machine on account of a) your self-confessed persistent failure to differentiate between generation 3 and generation 4 nuclear fuel cycles, b) the confusion generated around your throw away use of the phrase “nuclear fission is a self sustaining chain reaction”, and c) the appearance that somehow you know more and better than several global nuclear power corporations, dozens of NGO’s and scientific and engineering groups everywhere, plus over half the worlds population governments (US, Russia China Korea, Serbia, UK, etc…) all to whom I have linked and referenced in all the claims I make. (Please excuse this apparent invocation of the authority fallacy, but that’s partly how evidence is analysed i.e. citations during the peer-review process).

            IMcK, whilst you are finding references to rebut e.g. Scientific American, in support of your straw man ‘maybe 20% plutonium recycling guess’ for PRISM please cut-out the personal attacks such as I’m in the “wrong job” and “calm down dear” and “become very aggressive” when you keep failing to agree that your case for anti-nuclear power has so far been exposed as empty? Thanks.

            “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” – Thomas Paine

          • IMcK

            Natasha,

            I shall restrict my response to that which is and has been the subject of our discussion. You have responded to only a single matter I have raised and attempt to refute it. The basics are not complicated [but I expect any attempt to explain it to yourself will be in vain and you will once again be off on a rant about physicists and scientific articles and without addressing the specifics] – MOD delete […] if you feel necessary.

            The ‘glossy brochure’ quotation:

            “FULL RECYCLING – Existing excess weapons-grade plutonium can be degraded rapidly […] recycled fuel prepared by pyrometallurgical processing would be burned in advanced fast neutron reactors; prototype technology. Less than 1 percent is wasted. Tailored waste forms that would only have to remain intact for 500 years, after which material would no longer be hazardous Lacking plutonium, waste would not be useful for making weapons”

            My original comment:

            “The ostensible meaning of this claim is that the Plutonium is simply loaded into the reactor and an operational cycle later 1% of the fissile material remains and in a relatively benign condition to boot. The premise would be instantly dismissed by anybody with the slightest knowledge of nuclear reactor technology. Why? Because nuclear fission is a self sustaining chain reaction reliant upon a ‘critical mass’ of fissionable material – thus the ‘burn’ percentage is limited – maybe 20% might be achievable, not 99%. These matters are complicated by reactor poisoning and particularly in this case build up of Plutonium from Uranium.”

            The nuclear fission (ie splitting of the atom) chain reaction (once initiated) is sustained as long as there remains a ‘critical mass’ – sufficient density and volume of fissionable material (eg Plutonium 239) under operational parameters such as moderation (ie neutron energies), temperatures, reactor poisons, neutron flux level, neutron absorbers (eg control rods) etc. The nuclear reaction is maintained at the desired power level (at ‘criticality’) via the control element (neutron absorbers most usually control rods). As the fissionable material is consumed the mass of that material that can undergo fission falls (of course the total mass of the core is retained {for all practical purposes}, it is the mass of material available for fission that falls). The reaction is maintained by gradual withdrawal of the control rods from the core. When there is insufficient fissionable material to maintain a ‘critical mass’ the chain reaction can no longer be sustained.

            The amount of fissionable material at this point might be around 80% of the original material. This would be a generous figure for fast reactors since they are reliant upon a higher level of fuel ‘enrichment’ (than thermal reactors) to maintain the reaction.

            That is to say, the mass of fissionable material in the core after an operational cycle of the reactor cannot be less than 80% of that present at the start of that cycle. It cannot be 1%.

            So what is meant by the 1% figure quoted? This could be on 2 bases:

            i. The fast breeder reactor, breeds plutonium (239) from Uranium (238) during operation and which can undergo fission. In fact the fast breeder reactor can be designed to have a ‘conversion ratio’ greater than 1, ie breed more fissionable material than it consumes. It is possible therefore (irrespective of the latter point) that the amount of fissile plutonium consumed during a reactor cycle can be 99% of that present at fuel load. But the total amount of fissile plutonium (ignoring fissile Uranium 235 for this purpose) present in the core at the end of the cycle still cannot be less than 80% of that at fuel loading.

            ii. The 99% plutonium usage is achieved by multiple operational cycles of the reactor including reprocessing, enrichment/fuel fabrication between cycles.

            In fact the 99% usage will be based on a combination of the 2 items above. However you may be able to see [but I doubt it] that neither of the above are consistent with the ‘ostensible’ meaning of the original quotation. In other words the ‘glossy brochure’ is written to imply an ostensible meaning whilst actually meaning something else. And I suggest that this is intended to both make the process appear quick and simple and to mask the plutonium breeding issue.

            More broadly, it becomes clear to anybody looking into this proposal that PRISM refers only to the reactor/steam generating systems (the PRISM Module) and the strategy for dealing with the legacy nuclear waste requires further very extensive plant – waste stream (including ex Trident warhead nuclear material) separation facilities and preparation into a form suitable for fabrication as fuel for PRISM (includes the ‘pyrometallurgical processing’), fuel fabrication facilities, fuel reprocessing facilities, fuel and waste handling and storage facilities. The extent of such equipment is huge and would represent a subdivision or divisions of Sellafield. Such clarity is deliberately obscured in the GE/Hitachi information and which is disingenuous to downplay the extent of the undertaking.

            Perhaps you might also see why I merely summarised this in my original post.

            I have now had enough of this madness and I imagine so has anybody else who might have ploughed through it all. Goodbye.

  • Grhm

    Craig is a good man, and terrifically perceptive in so many fields.
    So I find it bizarre that he continues to see independence as a panacea.
    Splitting a rogue state with a shameful history into two will merely result in two, smaller, rogue states, with that shameful history in common.
    The legion of corrupt and amoral Scots who serve their UK capitalist overlords will not be magically transformed at independence into paragons of virtue… they will continue to be corrupt, and will continue to serve their capitalist overlords.
    Capitalism is the source of Scotland’s woes, not the Union.

    • mark golding

      Panaceas are ineffective Grhm. Austerity, ruined public services and rising in-work poverty all laid the basis for mass opposition to the capitalist political establishment, which found a means of escape through the demand for independence. Socialist Party Scotland campaigned for a Yes vote and an independent socialist Scotland in 2014.

      For the working class in particular, root demands for democratic rights are a desire to break from the nightmare of life under a system run for the billionaire elite.

      The samecircumstance drove the vote in favour of leaving the EU in 2016 among large swathes of working-class communities across the UK.

      • Alec Lomax

        Yeah, the Brexit vote worked out fine for said working class communities didn’t it? Never mind, they’ve got the old Etonians to look after them now.

    • Blissex

      «Capitalism is the source of Scotland’s woes, not the Union.»

      Fantastic idea: let’s have referendum with a question like: “Do you want Scotland to become an independent Soviet People’s Republic with Arthur Scargill as Chairman for Life, and Faslane leased to China and Coulport to Russia?” 🙂

      And what do the scots do while they waits a century or a score for the inevitable demi of capitalism? Just bend over every time the spivs or masochists of England put in power a nasty, Scotland despising, thatcherite government? While singing “The Red Flag” to while away the burning sensation?

      Getting something now is better than getting nothing, even if getting everything in a century or a score would be even better.

  • Penguin

    Some people seem to be missing the Rev Stu’s whole point.

    We would not be allowing part of Scotland to belong to england, or for the english to lease Faslane and Coulport. We would be charging them rent for their missiles until they find somewhere else for them to go.

    Makes perfect sense.

    • nevermind

      Either way Scotland would be a first strike target, leasing or not. I think that a removal and dismantling should be preceded by a massive international lobby for unilateral disarmament, everywhere, of all nukes hencewith, followed by negotiations on dismantling and removal of a useless weapon system, with Westminster and OTAN countries.

      Time to de-escalate, not more expansion towards Russia’s border, or else, to leave the now expansionary NATO altogether.

  • Michael Laing

    A very interesting post, Craig, and I very much agree with you. You’ll have seen Stuart Campbell’s post on this issue today. I think he’s going to struggle to find many supporters of his view that Scotland should retain nuclear weapons in our waters and/or on our soil, whether as a bargaining chip or otherwise. (He’s a gambler, isn’t he? Perhaps that explains it.) I can certainly say that amongst the most important of my reasons for wanting my country to be independent is so that we can be rid of these shameful, obscene weapons altogether.

  • Mist001

    What about if Scotland wants to keep them? With the current lot running the show in Scotland and likely to be running the shows in the early days of Scottish independence, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least, especially if there were any financial inducements involved.

  • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    For anyone whose Scottish geography may be rather vague, here are a couple of links to maps showing Faslane’s proximity (just 25 miles) to Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city —

    https://cdn.australiantimes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Faslane-location.jpg

    https://petrofilm.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Faslane_Coulport_map.79101904_std.jpg

    The following info snippet is from a 2014 BBC ‘COASTLINE’ webpage —

    CLYDE, FASLANE – HM NAVAL BASE
    “25 miles north-west from Glasgow lies Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde. It’s the largest military establishment in Scotland and home to the UK’s entire nuclear arsenal: four Trident nuclear submarines properly known as Vanguard Class Submarines. At any given time one of these four submarines is silently patrolling the seas.”

    • Cubby

      Fearghas

      It was very nice of those considerate folk at Westminster to locate their weapons of mass destruction so close to the most populous area in Scotland so that the Royal Navy personnel did not have to travel too far to go on a night out when in port.

      Nice to know when you are sleeping at night the WMD are travelling through Glasgow city centre. Thanks again Westminster – caring and sharing.

      • N_

        Does anyone who does not already firmly support Scottish secession take texts that call Britain “Westminster” seriously?

        Tip: when seeking to convince people, try to appear sane. Look what’s happening to Donald Trump. Then again, unlike a US presidential candidate the Partei only needs to be lucky once, right?

        I once knew a guy who insisted on calling the M6 the M74 because he had once heard (perhaps in reality, but more probably from a voice in his head) an English person call the M74 the M6, an error he interpreted (and no doubt warmly welcomed, because it showed how right he was) as a vicious act of monocle-wearing colonialism. Top comedy!

        • Stonky

          “Does anyone who does not already firmly support Scottish secession take texts that call Britain “Westminster” seriously?”

          Cubby said that it was Westminster that decided where to site the UK’s nuclear “deterrent”. Which is entirely factual and correct. It wasn’t “Britain” that made the decision. Nobody in Britain outside of Westminster was ever consulted. So it was Westminster that made the decision, not Britain.

          If you don’t want to sound like a pompous smugturd, try to not sound like a pompous smugturd.

        • Iain Stewart

          “Tip: when seeking to convince people, try to appear sane.”

          That engaging self-mockery cheered everyone up, thanks N_

  • Colin Smith

    The Highland & Islands should offer Holy Loch in return for support for independence from Scotland and assistance with necessary infrastructure.

  • terence callachan

    I didn’t know this.
    We can keep them and dismantle them FAB
    Or England can take them away before we become independent , good.

  • Alex Cox

    Excellent observation! Despite the efforts of NATO and the other nuclear weapons powers, nukes will shortly be illegal under international law. An independent Scotland may well, as you observe, choose to destroy all weapons of mass destruction within its borders.

  • Pamela

    “Russia of course breached the Budapest Agreement when it invaded Crimea, “

    Russia did NOT “invade” Crimea: your statement here throws your credibility out of the water as far I am concerned.

    The people of Crimea voted – for the 3rd time – to rejoin it’s mother country Russia, by an overwhelming majority. This is legal in all International Law, as exemplified by the Invading NATO and US after Yugoslavia. No troops were “invading” with guns drawn and the people subjugated as your statement implies.

    I applaud your fight for Assange, but when it comes to Russia you appear to be just another Anglo Saxon with a bad case of SlavHatred. Adn that’s a shame, because I really did respect you. Before.

    • Kempe

      ” The people of Crimea voted – – to rejoin it’s mother country Russia, “

      Only AFTER Russia had forcibly seized control and the only other option on the ballot paper was an agreement with Ukraine which had already failed. Had Crimea been offered independence the result may have been very different.

      • Jim McDonald

        It’s people like you that starts wars. (but probably don’t want to fight them) 🙁

      • Tom Welsh

        “Had Crimea been offered independence the result may have been very different”.

        I’m sorry to see that grammatical solecism. I think you meant

        “Had Crimea been offered independence the result might have been very different”.

        There is an important difference, you know.

    • Jim McDonald

      I’m afraid Craig, I feel the same.
      Except, I still respect you but if you stick to this belief then you really should explain your reasoning.

    • Iain Stewart

      “your statement here throws your credibility out of the water as far I am concerned.”

      Blows out of the water ? Throws the baby out with the bathwater ?

  • mickc

    Presumably the submarines would put to sea prior to a Referendum and dock in England after it…a simple solution.
    In any event, as they are effectively controlled by the USA, an independent Scotland would not dare to dismantle them…too costly politically and financially.
    Of course, as they are of no military use whatsoever, and rapidly diminishing political use it is likely Trident will not be renewed. It is, in effect, an irrelevance.

    • Jim McDonald

      mickc- But it’s not just submarines, its the stored warheads in the hills around the base at Faslane and the facilities at Coulport.
      Totally agree, though that it never was an independent nuclear weapon system that could be used without the “Mericans” permission.

    • Cubby

      Mickc

      Just so simple – great – take them now. Look forward to seeing them on the BBC sailing past the House of Commons to dock somewhere close to a pub for the crew to disembark for a pint of bitter. You could then keep them as a tourist attraction on the Thames in the future.

  • Fwl

    Advocating seizure of Trident and then allowing Russia to “dismantle” is not going to win many friends. In the run up to WW1 questions were asked in the House about whether Russia could purchase little Lundy and run it as a naval base. This sounds like Scotland is for sale and not just Scotland: Scotland and British weapons.

    • Tatyana

      I saw an ad saying I can purchase a square feet in Glencoe at about $100 and get the Lady Glencoe title. I’m sincerely interested.

      • Tom Welsh

        I feel I must warn you, Tatyana, that becoming Lady Glencoe would not get you entry to the House of Lords.

        Some years ago it ceased to be an assembly of all the lords, ladies and bishops. Nowadays I call it “the House of Cronies”, as it is a retirement home for broken-down political hacks whom the Prime Minister wishes to reward (but not too much).

        You wouldn’t fit in there at all. 😎

      • Fwl

        Glencoe is not even a feudal title. Just a piece of paper for complete suckers – so don’t waste your $100 on such things. In England feudal titles are incorporeal property ( a sort of vanity air albeit technically classified as property and sometimes when with the original owners the title is still attached to the land with various rights) but in Scotland they are (or at least were – it may have changed) more usually tangible and usually connected to an actual castle or baronial caput or stone or some rocks on a hill. Feudal titles can be purchased and if Russians wish to buy a lot of British air then I can’t see that being an issue given that these days the sons of former KGB agents are being granted British peerages.

        • Tatyana

          Didn’t you know that Russia is a threat to Scotland?
          Of course I’m not going to waste $100, why? I’ll have it all for free, when Russia invades 🙂

    • Tom Welsh

      I don’t think Russia would be interested in buying superannuated American warheads. It has plenty of its own.

  • Giyane

    Before Britain tain became a rogue state, David Caneron assisted in the acquisition of nuclear weapons from South Africa. If they are not destroyed or converted to peaceful energy production, nobody can assume that they will not end up belonging to a more rogantled ue state even than Britain. Quite a few candidates there.

    Unless they are dismantled under international supervision they probably end up being pointed ar Britain under the second hand car salesmen Tory toffs for whom only money matters.

    Cut them up and use them for peaceful energy production and sell it to the leveraged little economy next door.

  • Bruce

    Astonishing naivety.

    Mushroom clouds over Glasgow and Edinburgh before England gives up its nukes.

  • N_

    Surely giving nuclear weapons or delivery systems to a newly independent country would be proliferation, although that would also apply to the sale of US-manufactured Trident by the US to Britain in the first place. Then again Britain doesn’t really have control over Trident anyway.

    As for the Ukraine, I thought control was formally transferred not to the Ukrainian government but to the CIS.

    I can’t quite work out how an independent Scotland taking over nuclear weapons from the country it had just seceded from would win brownie points at the UN for working against proliferation.

    “China, Russia, the USA, France and Westminster”. Lol!

    • Cubby

      N

      Scotland would not secede from the UK as you wrongly put it. Scotland or England terminate the UK by ending the Treaty of Union 1707.

      Does anyone really take N seriously.

    • Blissex

      «Surely giving nuclear weapons or delivery systems to a newly independent country would be proliferation»

      The non-proliferation treaty is dead (in particular see how the USA have supported and aided proliferation by India, a non-signatory, even if this is expressly forbidden by the treaty).
      The USA have decided that proliferation is perfectly fine except when it is done by countries it does not control, and having a few more countries with regional nukes means the other countries value even more “protection” from the USA.

      «although that would also apply to the sale of US-manufactured Trident by the US to Britain in the first place.x

      The warheads are UK designed and built, only the delivery system is USA designed and built and controlled. And technically it was the UK that proliferated nuclear technology to the USA, as the critical principles were designed by an UK-polish-french team in England during WW2 (“tube alloys”), and then passed to the USA as part payment for Lend-Lease, well before the NPT was signed.

  • N_

    Here is a sane position for Scottish independence supporters:

    “1. An independent Scotland will have a policy of strict military neutrality.” [1]
    “2. This policy will be entrenched in a constitution”. [2]

    Notes
    1) Is this why Switzerland is rarely if ever cited by independence supporters as a comparator for Scotland, unlike NATO members Denmark and Norway? Oh wait, it must be something to do with the coastline. Yeah, right.
    2) This could say “written constitution”, but constitutions have to be written so that would be a pleonasm.

    • Blissex

      «Here is a sane position for Scottish independence supporters:
      “1. An independent Scotland will have a policy of strict military neutrality.”»

      Great, make sure that the USA and NATO members (and a lot more scottish voters) will be hostile to scottish independence, because the more enemies it has, the more successful it will be… The case of Switzerland (or Ireland) is totally irrelevant because it was established well before the USA Empire.

  • Giyane

    On the day that neocon Biden appeared to have won the presidency, Islamic State crawled out from under its stone in Iraq and attacked an Iraqi military target.
    The BBC is delighted that the roller coaster of US backed violence in the ME can now resume.

    Does any body think that this collapsed and economically scuppered For Sale plot of empire 2 Tories could still interfere in Iraq Syria or Libya without nukes in Faslane with which to threaten its enemies with destruction?

    The dismantling of Britain’s nuclear deterrent would mean that a Corbyn style of non aggressive Foreign Policy would be compulsory on the British administration. Worms like May and Williamson, Starmer and Clegg would look pretty stupid threatening Iran in the Mediterranean if they did not have nuclear bombs to threaten more powerful nations than our own.

    All of the oppressed nations of the Middle East would rebel against British proxy or direct subjugation if Britain
    was castrated from its macho trident huevas.
    Craig’s point is interesting because it reminds us how puny and bankrupt Britain is after 40 years of Tory plunder of state assets.

    So long as it has nukes, Britain will always believe in its inalienable right to punch above its nothing.

    • Sophos

      The BBC, where they refer to the President of the United States as “the Donald”. Wonder what they will call ‘Slo-mo Joe’ when/if the takes office.

  • Maggie

    Sturgeon inadvertently gave the game away on one of her many trips to Washington. She said that the reason she wanted to scrap nuclear weapons was to spend the money on conventional weapons. Nothing to to with “building more schools and hospitals”.

    • SO.

      Nukes in Scotland gets you on the Russians Priority Target list.

      NATO ER-GLCM’s in Scotland gets you on the Russians Priority Target list.

      NATO Air fields in Scotland gets you on the Russians Priority Target list.

      etc etc.

      Replacing 1 offensive system with another doesn’t change anything.

      • W Wallace

        By ‘conventional weapons’ Sturgeon probably means cabers 😉

        Cabers will get you on the Russians Priority Target List 😀

  • 6033624

    I’d like nothing better than the thought of Trident destroyed rather than handed over. However, the Ukrainian example is not a good comparator. Ukraine did have weapons stationed on it’s territory but they were neither the only weapons of Russia nor the majority of their weapons. Ukraine sought and gained the agreement of Russia to dispose of these weapons too.

    The UK nuclear arsenal and the accompanying submarine fleet are owned by the entire UK, a decision on what to do with the mobile parts of it would have to involve both parties ie Scotland and rUK. If both agree disposal then it goes ahead, if not, it doesn’t. Like many other things this is an ‘asset’ which is owned by both parties and a separation would involve a division of assets as in a divorce, with each having value. In purely money terms it would be cheaper for Scotland not to have to destroy these weapons and the submarines, nuclear power produces so much toxicity when broken down and we already have old subs waiting to be destroyed elsewhere.

    Ultimately this won’t happen and the reason it won’t happen is the same one which means most people now want Scotland to be independent – that Scotland IS so different politically than rUK. We AREN’T imperialistic, hawkish or xenophobic and nuclear weapons are unsuited to most people’s core beliefs. Ask most Labour or LibDem voters how they feel and they’ll probably agree despite what their party’s line is.

    • Jez

      Trident/nuclear weapons have cross-party support. They aren’t going anywhere which is a good thing. Getting rid of Trident./nuclear weapons is pure fantasy. A pea-brain can see the potential hazards of nuclear disarmament.

      • frankywiggles

        Why do you assume any thinking person is impressed by “cross party support”? A pea brain is what is required not to see the infinitely greater hazard of nuclear weapons, especially in the hands of permanently belligerent bullies suffering from severe status anxiety.

        • Hydra

          And a pea-brain could see the infinitely greater chance of a conventional war breaking out in the absence of nuclear weapons. Or are you scared of the egalitarian nature of nuclear weapons? It is not just young men that get killed as in the case of conventional wars. And I am not talking about the bombing of civilian population (something many did not reckon on when they were waving their menfolk off to war), I am talking about mass slaughter in trenches. I remember a CND spokeswoman saying the same thing. She stated that although CND were against nuclear weapons they were in favour of conventional weapons. Why? “Because nuclear weapons kill women and children”. Implying that it is OK to kill (young) men. With a nuclear war you don’t start it and expect others to fight it. You will be part of it yourself. No watching it on your TV screen from the comfort of your favorite armchair This is what those who purport to be anti-nuclear are all about. Nuclear weapons ‘keep the peace’. Only a war-monger or someone very naive would want to scrap nuclear weapons. Trident must be one one of the few issues, if there are any other, that attract cross-party support which in itself does say something.

          • Giyane

            Hydra

            Nuclear weapons give Britain the chutzpah to fight conventional wars or enjoy proxies to do it against sovereign nations across the world, from Venezuela to Myanmar.

            Some people, who are slightly larger than pea brained politicians care about all war, and suffer the outrage of Libya Syria Palestine Iraq as if it was happening to themselves.

            We call them homo sapiens, not homo politics, because they extend the spectrum of their wisdom further than their own noses, to all human beings on our planet.

          • Josie

            Very true, it is politicians who are the problem. Has there ever been a war not started by a politician? In effect what we are really doing is trying to design a system to reign in, prevent and cripple politicians apparent desire/tendencies to start wars. The wo/man in the street are the same the world over. We have no desire to fight politician’s wars. If politicians want wars they should fight them themselves, but they never do.

      • Iain Stewart

        “A pea-brain can see the potential hazards of nuclear disarmament.”

        You can, can you ?

  • Christopher Barclay

    Expect intense pressure from the usual international suspects for keeping Trident to be the price Scotland pays for ‘independence’. Remember that Scottish Nationalists don’t want Scotland to be independent but a vassal state of the EU. Then there is the issue of the sites having military protection. Guantanamo has been occupied against the wishes of the Cuban Government since 1959.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I’m not sure you will be able to state that ‘everything currently resident in Scotland is the property of the Scottish State’.

    On that basis, every single penny of Scottish people’s investments currently resident in the City of London are no longer theirs, they belong to some entity south of Hadrian’s Wall.

    It is perfectly OK to say ‘get your f**king nukes off Scottish territories within xxx days or we will personally do yyy.’ The real question is how you think you are going to overcome what will no doubt be very significant defence forces tasked with ensuring that no foreigners nor terrorists can gain access to UK’s nuclear Arsenal. I don’t know what UK policy would be on that, but I can’t see anyone saying ‘OK, Mr Murray, walk in and pinch our nukes’, can you?

    I suspect that you will need some pretty strong international leverage saying ‘get your f**king nukes out of Scotland or we will put sanctions on you’ if you want to get too much done, to be honest. London responds to power, particularly US power. It doesn’t really respond to anything else, to be honest. As the nukes are really US nukes rented by the UK with the right to fire (albeit no doubt with plenty of veto scenarios in place), I’m not totally convinced the US will back you without some pretty swingeing concessions. Americans never do anyone a good turn without expecting three or four back.

    Now if Biden or whoever put heat on the EU to let Scotland back into the EU to isolate England, I guess things might progress. But is that what Biden wants to do??

  • Rhisiart+Gwilym

    Russia didn’t ‘invade’ Krim, Craig. The Crimeans voted, entirely legitimately, to **return** – sic! – their peninsula to Russia, as per a couple of previous centuries, and the Russian forces that were already there, by previous – fully-legal – international agreement with the Ukraine, guaranteed their choice. It – er – it’s called ‘democracy’. And yes of course, Russia was never under any circumstances going to allow the Anglozionist empire to set up a base in Krim. They would have declared war first. That’s realpolitikally obvious. But nevertheless, the meticulously-democratic return of Krim to Russia was decided anyway by the Crimean people, as a direct result of the Anglozionist empire’s appallingly bloody and ruinous regime-change operation in Kiev, which has brought so much disaster to the rest of the Ukraine, and to the Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk (defending their independence from the thugs in Kiev much as Scotland might have to against a similarly thuggish bunch in Westminster, no?).

    As long as you go on clouding your – mostly very savvy – vision with these daft prejudices against Russia and Putin, Craig, I shall go on not donating to support your efforts. Sorry. 🙁 It’s that broad naivety-streak of yours, in an otherwise highly perceptive mind, that’s the trouble. Odd quality in a gifted career-diplomat… Doesn’t really dent my admiration and support for what you do, actually. But it can be a bit of an irritant.

    Best wishes, and I hope you get to be President!
    Independent, sovereign Scotland pronto!! 🙂

    • Dawg

      Some people seem to think that Craig is naïve and uninformed about Crimea compared to the average Russophile in the street. Yet Craig is a historian with a first class degree; he was an ambassador in a former Soviet Republic; he has an Uzbek wife; and he speaks fluent Russian. What would he know, compared to somebody who read about Crimea in the papers during the Russian takeover and even saw clips about it on TV?

      A quick site search shows Craig has given the matter some careful consideration, so you can hardly accuse him of being ignorant of the issues:

      Crimea Referendum – March 6, 2014
      “An international agreement is possible, if the EU makes plain to Russia that it accepts the principle of self-determination. Agreement should then be reached on immediate withdrawal of Russian forces into their allocated bases in Crimea, and back to Russia if there are indeed extraneous numbers, and an international monitoring presence for the OSCE.
      … Following the Anschluss, Hitler held a referendum in Austria within one month of the military takeover and received 99.7% support. At the moment Putin stands open to a legitimate accusation of pulling precisely the same stunt in precisely the same timescale.”

      When Lavrov Was Right – March 17, 2014
      “As Lavrov said to the Security Council, “the Council alone should decide the means to maintain or restore international security”, and the security council voted by 13 to 1 against the Crimea referendum. It is beyond argument that the man is massively hypocritical.”

      The Wrong Referendum, The Wrong Saviour – March 16, 2014
      “The vote yesterday in the Security Council should give every Putinista pause. Not even China voted with Russia. The Africans and South Americans voted solidly against. That is not because they are prisoners or puppets of the United States – they are not. Neither did they take the easy road of abstention. The truth is that what Putin is doing in Crimea is outrageous.”

      Deconstructing Putin – March 19, 2014
      “Putin blithely ignored the enormous logical inconsistency in his argument. He stated that the Crimean and Kosovo cases were highly analogous, but then used that to justify Russia’s action in Crimea, despite the fact that Russia has always maintained the NATO Kosovo intervention was illegal (and still refuses to recognize Kosovo). In fact of course Russia was right over Kosovo, and thus is wrong over Crimea.”

        • Dawg

          Well, at least he has plenty of company: clearly there were 13 one-eyed countries in the UN security council, and only 1 like yourself with two eyes (or maybe none?).

      • Tatyana

        oh, sure, Crimeans are all awfully wrong, only Mr. Murray alone is right, because he is historian! Russian president is wrong, and Mr. Murray is right because he lived for a while in a former Soviet Republic! And even Lavrov is wrong! Of course, how could the head of russian diplomacy compare to Mr. Murray, former ambassador, speaking some russian and even married to an Uzbeki lady!
        Dawg, can’t you see your arguments are ridiculous?

        • Dawg

          What do you mean by “only Mr. Murray alone”? Did you not understand the point that Mr Murray is not alone? The international community – including countries who are not naturally allies – condemned the Russian action equally. It’s the Russian government that is alone, and they obviously had a lot to gain from this “takeover”, politically and materially.

          • Tatyana

            aha, russian government alone, just in the company of 140 million Russians and a couple of million inhabitants of the Crimea, mind you, those living human beings who are directly affected by this.
            Are you suggesting that their opinion be neglected for the sake of the opinion of foreign governments? Or, the opinion of people on the other side of the globe, who can hardly find Crimea on the map?
            Or, do you mean some “authoritative sources of opinions” who stupidly confuse the South and the North when covering the events in the Kerch Strait? Live in the belief that Crimean Tatars are severely oppressed, never compensated for deportation? That Ukraine’s collaboration with the Nazis is a forgivable liberation movement? From all the studied history selects those moments that are convenient to fit into his believes? Who read the contra-arguments only every third line, or simply ignore them?

          • Dawg

            Are those 140 million Russians experts or consultants in international law? If population numbers are the key to this issue, then just add up the population numbers of all the other countries in opposition and your argument collapses into nothing.

            The decisions were not made by 140 million Russian inhabitants, but by the Russian government. Did they have anything to gain from overriding international law? Yes, certainly.

            At the time of the referendum the inhabitants of Crimea were under occupation by heavily armed military forces, well above what was allowed by the Budapest agreement. And don’t forget there had been decades of resettlement plans moving Russian people into the Crimea, displacing the native population (with little regard for so-called “compensation”). If the Russian military forces were removed and people who had moved to Crimea from other places did not have a vote, the referendum result would have been very different – and much more legitimate. It would have been approved by the UN. But Russia went for a very fast intervention which the rest of the world did not accept.

          • Tatyana

            I don’t come here to upset people, so I suggest you to continue living with the understanding that is comfortable for you.

            Do you know we have a meme describing a similar situation – when a reaction from us is expected, but we really don’t give a shit we see that it would be a useless job – “the Russian ministry is deeply concerned”

          • Dawg

            Tatyana, I assure you that you can keep your own “understanding” of the situation without causing any upset. This exchange isn’t emotional. I’m providing answers and corrections to a misrepresentation of Mr Murray’s knowledge and opinions. It’s not an emotional task. Likewise I know you don’t write here to upset people. So why mention “upset”, unless to shortcut a discussion?

            I hope it’s obvious now that Mr Murray is not naive about the Crimea situation and is not “alone” in his judgement. Even if you don’t agree, I’m sure many other readers will now have more information to make up their own minds, so it’s not a waste of effort. Take care.

    • Blair Paterson

      The base at faslane should be shut down the day we gain our freedom all the money in the world is not worth one human life .i want to live in a caring Scotland no U.K. No E.U. No U.N. No NATO or special relationship withAmerica a Scotland with no interference from outside and ruled only by Scots for Scots we will decide our future no one else to me that is real freedom

  • Tatyana

    Russian Wiki says:

    Position of the Russian authorities:
    … Russia has officially denied accusations of violating the Budapest Memorandum and its applicability to the situation in Crimea, since “Russia … didn’t undertake the obligation to force a part of Ukraine to remain in its composition against the will of the local population, and the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum don’t apply to circumstances resulting from the action of internal political or socio-economic factors”
    This excerpt is from the Russian Foreign Ministry statement, which also says:

    … As for the allegations that by its actions Russia … destroys the nuclear non-proliferation regime … the common element of the Budapest Memorandum … is only a commitment not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. This obligation of Russia to Ukraine has not been violated in any way …
    https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/maps/ua/-/asset_publisher/ktn0ZLTvbbS3/content/id/68078

    Another linked statement says:
    … The Kiev government, which came to power as a result of an unconstitutional coup, by its policy, primarily in relation to national minorities, essentially blew up the unity of Ukraine. The coup was a blow to Ukrainian sovereignty. Under these conditions, the Crimean autonomy could no longer remain a part of Ukraine and declared its independence in full compliance with the UN Charter…
    https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/maps/ua/-/asset_publisher/ktn0ZLTvbbS3/content/id/69058

    Another position of Russia
    … the Budapest Memorandum was violated by the EU and the US
    … repeated threats from the EU and the US during the riots in Kiev to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian leadership is economic coercion against a sovereign state.
    … the statements of the US and the EU that they no longer consider the legally elected head of state as a legitimate partner
    … recognition of the new leaders appointed in violation of all constitutional procedures
    … acting against the political independence and sovereignty of Ukraine in violation of the Budapest Memorandum.
    https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/maps/ua/-/asset_publisher/ktn0ZLTvbbS3/content/id/69938

    The Russian wiki also says
    Before the Euromaidan, the US didn’t consider that the Budapest Memorandum legally obliges them to do something. The response of the US Embassy, April 12, 2013:
    “The repeated statements of the Government of the Republic of Belarus that the US sanctions violate the 1994 Budapest Memorandum of Security are unfounded. Although the Memorandum is not legally binding, we take these political commitments seriously”

    On top of that, Wiki says
    In the English version of the text … the title can be interpreted in two ways. Instead of the words “Security Guarantee”, the document uses “Security Assurances”.
    In russian text it is Guarantee

    • Tatyana

      Actually I think that, well.. what if Mr. Murray is not free to speak out about Crimea, and therefore deliberately writes in such a provocative manner that commentators start to discuss and bring arguments?
      Мистер Мюррей, если моя догадка верна, моргните два раза 🙂

  • Mike

    To reinforce your point. Trident warheads have had no targets since 1994, (Major-Yeltsin) and confirmed from 1998 in the lingo of ‘several days to launch’ – not the 15 minutes loved by the press. This means Trident has had no operational role and no active operational role in NATO since 1994. UK Parliament is aware but ignores the matter. The Continuous patrols serve only a domestic political purpose, no military purpose. The Trident patrols are just a very large safety hazard. Soviet Union no longer exists. Warheads carry no targets. Why have a doomsday machine continually at sea when its has no military operational purpose since 1994? It is will one of the greatest scandals and myth making in the last 25 years.

    Surrendering the warheads, none of which have ever had an operational target during the entire operational life of Trident would serve a great purpose. There is no reason why the US would permit Trident/Dreadnought ever to be re-targeted as any UK errors would threaten US mainland. The opportunity needs to be taken to save as much of the £200bn as is possible, not withstanding the waste on new buildings in AWE (Pegasus, Mensa) which assume a new warhead, and the waste so far on Dreadnought. We could at least cancel the last two proposed SSBNs.

    • Tom Welsh

      Plus ca change…

      ‘The post-war Labour government spent vastly more on defence than on the welfare state partly in an attempt to give Britain influence. Whilst it was deciding whether the UK should also develop an independent nuclear deterrent, the foreign secretary Ernest Bevin arrived back from demeaning negotiations in Washington. “I never wish to be spoken to like that by an American again,” he said, “Britain must have the bomb”’.

      – Michael Portillo (Sunday Times, 3/12/2006: http://www.michaelportillo.co.uk/articles/art_nipress/special.htm)

      • Squeeth

        You might find Warfare State: Britain, 1920–1970 (2005) and

        The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History (2019) by David Edgerton interesting.

      • Bramble

        Such a reliable narrator, Michael Portillo. Nevertheless Labour in 1945 differed from Labour in 2020 in only one way: its left, under Bevin, were given the opportunity to create the Welfare State while its right under Bevin continued to play “wannabe on the world stage”. Now the right heartily despises the left and wants to purge it from the Party – Nye would have been expelled today, under some pretext or other.

  • iain

    @Keir_Starmer
    The United Kingdom is at its best when the world knows we have the courage of our convictions and a clear moral purpose.

    For the United States of America and for Britain, this is the time to return to the world stage. This is the time for us to lead.
    7:42 pm 8 Nov 2020

    They’re singing wee Sturge’s song..

    • Giyane

      Iain

      No doubt Starmer can feel the courage Down the puppet strings and open and close his wooden mouth when he feels the mouth string twitching. Not sure if Pinnochio has an actual heart or convictions to fill it.

      • Republicofscotland

        You know in Collodi’s original book the villagers cut off Pinocchio’s legs with an axe then set him on fire.

  • Republicofscotland

    As Trump’s acolytes desperately search for voter fraud, Joe Biden begins picking his team, however the transition cannot shift into high gear until the U.S. General Services Administration, which oversees federal property, certifies the winner.

    Emily Murphy a Trump appointee runs the GSA, and she hasn’t given the go ahead for the transition period yet, she’s probably stalling for time, until she does, Biden’s people cannot enter Federal agencies or access Federal funds.

    • Giyane

      ROS

      Fait algorthmi. I take my hat off to Trump for trying to break down the electrocuted fence of ballot fraud.
      Faced with the same problem in December, the Labour Party snivelled they were to blame . But it categorically wasn’t them , it was Tory Fraud.

      There is no more sacred shrine in liberal democracy than the temple of enlightenment of democracy. It’s a brave man or woman that dares to proclaim the god of people power is tainted by fraud.

    • Tom Welsh

      Laws, treaties and agreements don’t apply to Washington. It’s exempt – just as BMW drivers are exempt from the Highway Code.

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