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Bristol alumnus who advised Blix slams link to Aldermaston

CND vice-president puts former university in the spotlight

BRISTOL University came under fire for its nuclear weapons work yesterday from a former student turned UN arms adviser.

Dr Rebecca Johnson called on the institution to drop millions of pounds worth of "corrupt funding" it is receiving for carrying out research for the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

The CND vice-president quit a physics course at Bristol University after discovering it was working with the atomic weapons factory at Aldermaston.

And Dr Johnson, who later graduated from the university with a degree in politics, said she was "outraged" to discover bosses are now taking even bigger sums from the bomb makers.

"I pulled out of my course after finding that the Bristol physics department was hand-in-glove with the atomic weapons makers at Aldermaston, and I'm outraged that this immoral collaboration is still continuing," she said.

"As a Bristol alumnus, I urge the university to reject this corrupt funding for nuclear weapons research and proliferation."

Dr Johnson issued her call to end weapons research on campus in a lecture at the neighbouring University of the West of England.

Her speech is likely to embarrass bosses at her former university given her extraordinary journey from activist to top-level adviser since she graduated in 1977.

She lived and campaigned at the famous Greenham Common women's peace camp from 1982 until 1987.

But the academic went on to become a senior adviser to former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix on the International WMD Commission that he chaired in 2006.

And she added: "Research that contributes to the replacement of Trident is an egregious violation of the UK's binding international treaty obligations to eliminate nuclear weapons.

"The only legally justifiable research is in verifying nuclear disarmament and ensuring that existing weapons are safely and securely dismantled and eliminated."

Ex-nuclear scientist and local campaigner Dr Rowland Dye added: "It's shocking that the government is still squandering our taxpayers' money on nuclear weapons, and that Bristol is colluding in Trident replacement, contrary to our international legal obligations."

The Star twice contacted Bristol University for a response without reply.


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