by Project Censored
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The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which the United States and the United Kingdom are signatories, calls for a clear distinction between civil and military nuclear technologies. Specifically, Article VI of the treaty forbids the use of civil nuclear byproducts, such as reactor wastes, in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. The Israelis used this provision of the treaty as an excuse for the bombing of a nuclear reactor in Iraq. The same thinking would suggest that the next target for Israeli bombers might well be Great Britain.

— In 1958, the U.S. and U.K. signed a Mutual Defense Agreement. As part of this agreement, six to seven tons of plutonium from civilian reactors in Great Britain have been shipped to the United States for use in the manufacture of nuclear weapons; an open violation of the Non-­Proliferation Treaty;

— U.S. energy secretary, Donald Hodel, has admitted that two to three tons of this plutonium has been made into nuclear warheads some of which are currently deployed on Cruise missiles in England;

— Dr. Ross Hesketh, a research physicist who began working with the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in England in 1959, became concerned about the use of civil plutonium for military purposes and began to protest publicly in 1981;

— After a campaign of systematic harassment, Hesketh was fired in June of 1983; a subsequent storm of public protest resulted in his rehiring by the CEGB, tantamount to an admission of guilt on their part; Hesketh later resigned from the CEGB and now is director of the European Proliferation Information Center;

— The CEGB has consistently denied that plutonium produced in their reactors has ever been used in weapons; however, Lord Christopher Hinton, director of the CEGB from 1957-1964 said of that assertion: “I am absolutely certain that that statement is incorrect … they shouldn’t tell ‘bloody lies’….”

The International Atomic Agency relies on the example of the great superpowers to put validity in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Third World nations already view the Non-Proliferation Treaty with great cynicism. Now, the overt hypocrisy of the U.S. and the U.K. in ignoring Article VI gives a perfect excuse to any nation wishing to use its civil nuclear facilities to make bombs.


SANITY, November 1984, “Plutonium Lies;” pp 33-34; and press releases, correspondence, and articles which appeared in British publications during 1984 (including THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, NEW SCIENTIST, THE GUARDIAN, FINANCIAL TIMES, NEW STATESMAN, NEW SOCIETY, and NUCLEAR ENGINEERING INTERNATIONAL) from Mr. David Lowry, Researcher, Energy Research Group, The Open University, Milton Keynes, England.