The Nukewatch summary of convoy movements in 2011 shows that more warheads seem to have been brought down from Scotland to AWE than went back from AWE after servicing. Nukewatchers can tell whether or not a convoy is loaded because, if it goes back to Burghfield for more than a short time, it is probably unloading warheads. If it goes straight back to Aldermaston, it is unlikely to have warheads on board. This may mean that the reduction in warhead numbers, which was promised in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, is beginning, with AWE decommissioning between two and four warheads during 2011.
This would be consistent with a programme for decommissioning around three warheads per year between 2011 and 2025 to bring the total warhead stockpile down from around 225 warheads to around 180 warheads. It is also consistent with the UK’s statement to the 2012 Non Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee that the UK has started to reduce warhead numbers.
Nukewatch also monitored Special Nuclear Materials convoys, one carrying enriched uranium from Aldermaston to Rolls-Royce, Derby for reactor fuel for new submarines, and one taking assembled fuel modules from Derby to Barrow-in-Furness for fitting into a submarine.
If you see a convoy, please ring 0845 4588 364
or 0845 45 88 365 as soon as you can.
The Nukewatch website is at www.nukewatch.org.uk/