This is the report of a one-day symposium held at the Royal Society in London on 6 December 2007 on “Nuclear Futures – Realities and Choices”, organised by Oxford Research Group in association with the David Davies Memorial Institute for International Studies (DDMI) within the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University.
The symposium was held in honour of ORG’s distinguished honorary scientific and technical consultant on nuclear issues, Dr. Frank Barnaby, whose keynote presentation (PDF) kicked off the main discussion on the security implications of the civil nuclear power renaissance.
Prior to the symposium, a private round-table was held on 5 December at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), co-hosted with the British American Information Council (BASIC). Following the symposium, a meeting was held at the House of Lords on 7 December, by kind invitation of Baroness Helena Kennedy, and chaired by Carol Naughton of the WMD Awareness Programme, for symposium participants to brief the press and NGOs on the main outcomes of the discussions. The events were supported by generous grants from the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation, the Marmot Trust, and individual donors.
A linked public event was organised with the help of British Pugwash to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ORG’s foundation on the evening before the symposium, also at the Royal Society, entitled Nuclear Futures, Human Choice (PDF). The evening centred around a screening of the BBC film of Michael Frayn’s award-winning play, Copenhagen, followed by a discussion led by Michael Frayn and five other eminent panellists, ORG’s founder-director Scilla Elworthy and four of the symposium participants. The discussion focussed on the moral, psychological and philosophical conundrums raised in the play, in relation to questions about nuclear weapons today: the role of the scientist in politics, the role of women, and the fundamental philosophical question of what drives human beings to do and think as they do.