Scientists call for axe to fall on nuclear weapons

More than 30 leading professors have yesterday (October 13) have written to the prime minister David Cameron, calling on him to slash investment in new nuclear weapons.

The 36 scientists, including ex-Royal Society head, Sir Michael Atiyah and

Nobel Prize winner, Sir Harold Kroto, want funding ring fenced for environmental research and believe nuclear work should be scrapped.

In the letter they claim £2billion a year, over 25% of the government’s total scientific research and development budget, is currently spent by the Ministry of Defence.

Their objections focus on government funding of a multi-billion pound research programme at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, aimed at developing new nuclear warheads.

This year, according to the letter, this programme was boosted with an additional £1billion of government funding, and this level of ‘additional investment’ is set to continue until 2013.

Dr Stuart Parkinson, executive director of Scientists for Global Responsibility who co-ordinated the letter said: “It’s completely irrational to cut scientific research into medical and environmental problems whilst pouring billions of pounds of research money into facilities for designing new nuclear warheads.

“The Cold War is over, the major security threats we will face in the coming years have their roots in problems like climate change and resource shortages.

“These are the areas where more of our research should be focussed, and yet the UK currently devotes 20 times more research funding to military projects than to renewable energy.

“If cuts have to come, it’s clear to us that Aldermaston is where the axe should


Luke Walsh

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