Strategies for nuclear weapons and waste | Letters

It is essential that Europe does not become the arena for a build-up of nuclear weapons, writes Catherine West MP. It is surely time to bury the Micawber principle, says Professor Neil Hyatt

As we mark the 74th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world is at a dangerous juncture (Editorial, 2 August). Abandonment of the INF treaty alongside President Trump’s reckless withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal only increases the likelihood of a devastating nuclear arms race. It suggests nothing has been learned from the horror of those attacks 74 years ago, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and many more blighted.

While nuclear bombs exist in our world there is always the risk of another Hiroshima or another Nagasaki. It is essential that Europe does not become the arena for a build-up of nuclear weapons and that the UK government refuses any requests from the US to host intermediate range missiles. Our goal must be a world free of nuclear weapons, not a dangerous and destructive escalation.
Catherine West MP
Hornsey & Wood Green

• John Vidal offers an answer to the question in your headline (What should we do with radioactive nuclear waste?,, 1 August) that propagates, unchallenged, the myth that indefinite storage of radioactive wastes is justifiable, perchance that better options than geological disposal may materialise. To do so would be to pass on to the next generation the burden and cost of indefinitely securing, monitoring and repackaging these wastes, which is profoundly unethical and unsustainable. Siting a UK geological disposal facility will, rightly, progress at the pace comfortable for potential host communities, which may take decades. Nevertheless, work will continue apace in our universities, industries, regulators and government to develop the evidence and models that will assure the safety of geological disposal. Though a UK disposal facility will remain conceptual for the foreseeable future, it is surely time to bury the Micawber principle that an alternative will simply turn up if we wait long enough.
Professor Neil Hyatt
Department of materials science and engineering, University of Sheffield

• Join the debate – email

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Short-term thinking of UK nuclear policy | Letters
Letters: Sue Roaf writes that evacuation plans for Hinkley Point would have to involve at least a million people; while Diarmuid Foley says that, in the modern world, the route to weapons-grade material is not taken through the civilian nuclear fuel cycle


03, Jan, 2018 @6:05 PM

Article image
Scrapping of nuclear plant should see UK renewables filling the void | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to news that Hitachi has pulled out of the proposed Wylfa nuclear power plant in Anglesey


18, Jan, 2019 @4:13 PM

Article image
UK must take lead on nuclear weapons | Letters
Letters: The tide towards annihilation can be turned if the political will is there, writes CND general secretary Kate Hudson


17, Jul, 2018 @4:43 PM

Letters: Nuclear risks and the renewable alternatives
Letters: The coalition should reverse Labour's dangerous decision to go for new nuclear build and use the money saved, firstly to strengthen our current nuclear facilities against terrorist attack, secondly to solve the long-term nuclear waste problem and thirdly to support renewables

16, Mar, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Nuclear energy and alternatives old and new | Letters
Letters: Let’s go for an expansive renewable energy system, backed up with energy efficiency and energy storage, says David Blackburn. Plus Mike Ellwood on the integral fast reactor, and John Barstow on the case for keeping coal as a backup


14, Aug, 2019 @4:02 PM

Article image
Nuclear energy is key in fight for climate | Letter
Letter: Ignore the myths about nuclear power, writes Rob Loveday of Generation Atomic – it is an essential source of clean energy


31, Aug, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Nuclear energy is anything but clean | Letter
Letter: The nuclear power industry has successfully rebranded an appallingly toxic energy industry by never mentioning the terrible legacy of nuclear waste, writes Ann Denise Lanes


25, Aug, 2021 @5:06 PM

Article image
Chances for progress towards a nuclear-free world | Letters
Letters: Bruce Kent of CND and Linda Rogers respond to Owen Jones’ article on Jeremy Corbyn and the UK’s nuclear weapons. Plus letters from Mike Clancy of Prospect, Frank Jackson and David Lowry


01, Apr, 2018 @5:17 PM

Article image
Exposing UK government folly of investment in new nuclear | Letters
Letters: A new build programme would create an intolerable burden on communities into the far future, writes Andrew Blowers; while Rose Heaney wonders why our abundant renewable energy sources are being overlooked


24, Jan, 2018 @6:23 PM

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all | George Monbiot

George Monbiot: I've discovered that when the facts don't suit them, the movement resorts to the follies of cover-up they usually denounce

George Monbiot

05, Apr, 2011 @6:30 AM