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Internationals We Need You! Please come to the UK to stop new nuclear weapons.

I would like to invite you all to the UK in February next year. Trident Ploughshares is organising a big blockade of Aldermaston for Monday 15th February 2010 from 7am – all day - and we need European help.

There have been protests going on at Aldermaston ever since it opened. Some of the most famous UK-based anti-nuclear marches have taken place at Aldermaston. In the 1950s Europe was terrified by the possibility of a nuclear conflict and CND was launched with a massive public meeting in London in February 1958. Shortly afterwards at Easter the first Aldermaston March attracted a good deal of attention and the CND symbol began to be popularised until today it is recognised as a universal peace symbol.

There are seven gates into this massive nuclear bomb making factory and UK based groups will be blockading at all of them but we would really value a European blockade at the main gate in order to show that UK nuclear weapons are a threat to world peace and that you expect the UK to uphold international law and disarm immediately. As you are all aware for various reasons the risk of nuclear weapons being used is now a greater threat than at any time in the last decade or so, and the UK is in a very strong position to help unravel the deadlock on disarmament. Scotland has already got an anti-nuclear government and wants rid of Trident. The UK is due to have elections in 2010 and a big blockade and nonviolent resistance at Aldermaston could help shift things at Westminster too.

Trident Ploughshares (www.tridentploughshares.org) is co-ordinating the blockade and will be supported by CND and peace and justice groups. Groups coming will be organising and training themselves, building their lock-ons or other blockading tools and arriving fully prepared to start blockading early on Monday 15th February. Trident Ploughshares will be providing legal back-up, collecting people from police stations and everyone will gather after the action for food and de-briefs. We will help find a camping spot or other accommodations in a large hall for international groups and possibly arrange for further lobbying actions in London. More details will be forthcoming at a later date. At this stage I would like to know which of you can gather a group together and take part. I have worked with many of you over the years in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden and look forward to your energy and expertise in civil resistance here in the UK next year, love and peace, Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares. reforest@gn.apc.org +44-78-3535-4652.

Information on Trident and Aldermaston

Trident is Britain's nuclear weapon system. It consists of four nuclear-armed submarines, one of which is on operational patrol, under the seas, at all times. Each Trident submarine carries up to 48 nuclear warheads, each of which can be sent to a different target. Each warhead has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons, the equivalent of 100,000 tons of conventional high explosive. This is 8 times the power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 140,000 people.

There are three parts to the system: the warheads - which are the explosive 'bombs', the missiles which carry them and the submarines which carry the missiles. The submarines are made in Britain at Barrow-in-Furness, refitted at Devonport, and maintained at Faslane, Scotland. The missiles are leased from the US. The warheads are made at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston and are stored at Faslane.

Britain has been nuclear armed since 1952, buying into the US nuclear weapons system Polaris from 1968 to 1996 and Trident from 1994.

By continuing to possess nuclear weapons, Britain is failing to comply with its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which it signed in 1968 and which committed it to nuclear disarmament.

AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Aldermaston is roughly 70 miles north-west of London and is where the UK makes its nuclear weapons. It is where the warheads for the current Trident system were built and at nearby AWE Burghfield, the warheads are periodically refurbished, and then taken back to Faslane in Scotland. Now they have started work on the next generation of nuclear weapons. This is in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and we need a massive European protest at Aldermaston to put pressure on the UK Government before the critical NPT Review Conference in May 2010 in New York.

Since 2002, AWE Aldermaston has been building new facilities to design, test and build the next generation of nuclear weapons. The development plans are on the same scale as Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport. Despite opposition from numerous peace and justice groups, lawyers and other nations nevertheless a new laser facility, which is able to recreate the conditions of a nuclear explosion, is nearing completion, and other buildings are planned or under construction. There are also new facilities being built at nearby Burghfield.

The UK's current warhead is based on a US design, and Trident missile bodies are leased from the US. Scientists at Aldermaston regularly take part in exchanges and experiments with their counterparts at nuclear facilities in the US, where there are also new research, development and building programmes. Joint sub-critical tests are carried out with the US at the Nevada Test Site. The US are developing a new Reliable Replacement Warhead (although funding has been recently stalled); Aldermaston is working on the same system, but here it is known as the High Surety Warhead. The estimated total cost of replacing the Trident fleet of nuclear powered submarines together with new missiles and warheads is estimated at between £25 and £76 billion.