France and Britain sign a Treaty to test the safety of their nuclear arsenals

Standpoint of IPPNW Affiliates, Medact (GB) and AMFPGN (Fr): November 2010

nobel price

IPPNW : International Physician for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

France and Britain sign today, Tuesday, a Treaty that will see the two countries test the safety of their nuclear arsenals in a joint facility in France.

 A nuclear simulation centre will be built at Valduc in eastern France, about 45 kilometres northwest of the city of Dijon, and start operating from 2014. The Valduc laboratory will work with a French-British research centre based in Aldermaston in southern England, and will enable French and British scientists to model the performances of nuclear materials to ensure the “viability, safety and security in the long term of our nuclear arsenals.” The data so obtained could be used to design new warhead types.

 Article I of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbids the transfer of nuclear explosive devices to any recipient. This new Anglo-French Treaty allows an indirect transfer of nuclear weapon knowledge and indicates very clearly that neither Government recognises the legitimate objections of the Non-Nuclear Weapons States which have signed the NPT to the maintenance by the British and the French of weapons which can be deployed without any notice, and why the Non-Nuclear Weapons States view with great scepticism the “good faith” of the Western Nuclear Powers to reduce substantially their nuclear arsenals and their readiness to use them, to which they are committed by the NPT. Furthermore, as the new facilities will allow research into the development of nuclear weapons without the need for a test explosion, they may also breach the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.  

 The global dangers to the health, welfare and very survival of societies and peoples otherwise not involved which are posed by nuclear arsenals deployed intentionally or by accident or false alarms, continue to be ignored by the Powers in possession of these arsenals. Not only do the chances of a nuclear exchange remain unacceptably high, the NPT itself is made is increasingly vulnerable to the withdrawal of Non-Nuclear Weapons States who feel the need to develop and possess nuclear weapons for their own security, thus encouraging  nuclear weapons proliferation.

 Medact and AMFPGN therefore oppose this new Anglo-French contribution to nuclear proliferation and urge that all Powers work for the rapid implementation of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to abolish all nuclear weapons throughout the World.

 Signed : Abraham Behar (France) and Frank Boulton (Great Britain).

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