Campaigners to blockade nuclear bomb factory to mark World Disarmament Week
Trident Ploughshares Press Release - 23 October 2008
Trident Ploughshares  has called a major blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston near Reading during UN World Disarmament Week , on Monday 27 October, from 6:30am. The Aldermaston Big Blockade is supported by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) , Block the Builders  and the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp  and aims to disrupt work on existing Trident nuclear warheads and their successors.
Hundreds of peace campaigners are expected to converge on Aldermaston in what looks set to be the biggest day of direct action against Trident in the UK since the Big Blockade of Faslane naval base in Scotland last October.  On Easter Monday, around 5,000 people surrounded Aldermaston as CND marked the 50th anniversary of the first march to the base from London. 
Christian CND is planning an overnight vigil at Tadley Gate from 9pm on Sunday 26 October and a daytime procession around the base on Monday in solidarity with the blockade.  Joining them will be monks and nuns from Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist order strongly opposed to nuclear weapons, who plan to walk to Aldermaston from their Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes.
In addition to calling for an end to Trident, campaigners want to highlight urgent concerns about public health and safety and environmental contamination, especially in light of recent revelations of severe flooding at AWE’s nearby Burghfield site last summer and numerous other ongoing safety issues. 
Daniel Viesnik from Trident Ploughshares said, “The massive expansion of AWE, continued deployment of Trident and its planned replacement are unnecessary expenses in the current financial climate and contradict and undermine the Government’s stated commitment to global abolition of nuclear weapons. This is hypocritical, destabilising and in breach of the UK’s disarmament obligations. Trident is a serious hazard to life, health and the environment and there can never be a lawful or moral use for it. We as concerned citizens have therefore called a peaceful blockade during World Disarmament Week to demand that the new developments are ceased and the whole Trident system taken out of service without delay. We would rather see this facility made safe so it will be fit for use for warhead decommissioning as part of a global Nuclear Weapons Convention, in line with Government proposals.”
Musician and songwriter David Ferrard , who is travelling down from Scotland, said, “I have participated and sung at several blockades outside the gates of Faslane in Scotland, where the Trident submarines are based. I thought it was time to travel to the source of the weapons of mass destruction and show solidarity with my English neighbours.”
1. Trident Ploughshares is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a nonviolent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner.
For media enquiries and to arrange interviews, contact Daniel Viesnik, press liaison: 07506 234 091 aldermaston_blockade_media_team [at] yahoo.co.uk
2. UN Disarmament Week – 24-30 October
3. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere. Contact Ben Soffa, CND Press Officer: 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859 http://www.cnduk.org
4. Block the Builders http://www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
5. Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp http://www.aldermaston.net
6. Faslane 365, a year-long blockade of Faslane naval base, Scotland http://www.faslane365.org
7. CND The Bomb Stops Here event, Easter Monday 2008 http://www.cnduk.org/aldermaston
8. Details of Christian CND’s vigil and procession http://ccnd.gn.apc.org/events.html
9. Reports on severe flooding at AWE Burghfield in July 2007 and other safety issues:
The devastating impact of the July 2007 floods on Britain’s nuclear weapons factories
Nuclear Information Service report
Flood threat to nuclear arms site - Channel 4 News
Britain's nuclear weapons factory 'nearly overwhelmed' by flood - The Telegraph
Trident plant shut down in safety alert - The Guardian
10. David Ferrard’s website http://davidferrard.com
11. In March 2007, Westminster voted in principle to retain nuclear weapons and to build new submarines from which to launch them. To date, there has been no vote in parliament on the future of warheads. However, Ministry of Defence (MoD) documents obtained by CND in July 2008 confirmed that contrary to repeated ministerial denials, the government has already made the decision to replace the warheads.
12. The MoD has already committed billions of pounds to a massive ongoing construction and recruitment programme at AWE, where Britain’s nuclear warheads are researched, developed and maintained. AWE first outlined its expansion proposals, which it claimed would be on the scale of Heathrow Terminal 5, in its 2002 Site Development Strategy Plan. Building work commenced - on the Orion laser facility - in 2005 and continues to this day.
Trident replacement - a short chronology
AWE site development strategy plan (2005 update) http://www.awe.co.uk/Contents/Publication/1567930Site%20Development%20Strategy%202005.pdf