In January, the Federation of American Scientists revealed that B61-12s nuclear bombs have been cleared for transport to bases in Europe, including Britain. They are the United States newest guided nuclear bombs, the same type used on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, though considerably more powerful of course.
Their locations in Europe will include RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk which last year became the sixth nuclear base in Europe funded by the US. Guided nuclear bombs were stored at Lakenheath until 2008. The silo facilities at are still intact there.
Peace campaigners only became aware of plans by the US to station nuclear weapons in Britain again when sharp eyes spotted that the US Department of Defense had added the UK to a list of NATO nuclear weapons storage facilities in Europe, which are to be ‘upgraded’ at a cost of millions of dollars. The British Government tried to keep this news secret – Parliamentary CND was originally told by the Ministry of Defence that they could ‘neither confirm nor deny’ the reports that nuclear weapons would be returning to Lakenheath, on the grounds that this was purely the business of the United States!
Irresponsible British media outlets have given this news almost no coverage, yet the weapons pose a danger to everyone in the country, particularly people in the Southeast of the country. Lakenheath, is only 70 miles north of the capital city. Millions of people live within range of the blast and radiation in the event of a terrorist attack on the base or even from some kind of accident involving the weapons.
The US aircraft which would be needed to transport the bombs to their targets are already at Lakenheath. This would be an extremely dangerous development at any time, but the war in Ukraine and increasing global tensions, with calls for NATO members to increase their military spending and step up military aid to Ukraine, put Britain on the front line in a future NATO/Russia war.
Nuclear weapons have now been declared illegal by a UN Treaty, yet the US and NATO still insist that they are vital for our defence and national security. We have to make it clear that the weapons make us a target and actually threaten our security, as well as destabilising international relations.
When nuclear weapons were stored at RAF Lakenhurst previously, there were 110 bombs kept there – enough to render the planet uninhabitable by humans and many other forms of life. After a sustained public protest led by CND, the weapons were removed from the base in 2008. Clearly, constant vigilance is needed to make sure they don’t return.