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Why nuclear disarmament is a medical issue

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:426
  1. Lesley Morrison (

    The 1983 BMA report The Medical Effects of Nuclear Weapons made it clear that preventing the possession and use of nuclear weapons is a matter of concern for doctors. Then over the next 20 years the issue seemed to go away. Except it didn't: in Britain it's called Trident and it's sitting at Faslane naval base in a beautiful loch on the glorious west coast of Scotland.

    The proposed replacement of the Trident system of ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads will cost British taxpayers about £70bn (€105bn; $140bn). It will cost—and is costing—them a lot more in terms of international credibility and integrity. Under the terms of the Geneva Conventions weapons of indiscriminate use are outlawed. As a one kilotonne bomb would kill everyone within a 1 km radius, such a bomb is illegal. It's also immoral and wrong. The recent Medact report Britain's New Nuclear Weapons: Illegal, Indiscriminate and Catastrophic for Health makes this clear ( The Nobel prize winning organisation International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, of which Medact is an affiliate, …

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