By John Mayer
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Extra resources for Nuclear Peace: The Story of the Trident Three
It had to be the big one: Coulport in Argyll, home of Trident. The missile warhead bunkers at the centre of the site are impregnable to three women with hand tools. So too are the re-entry body process buildings. 35 Nuclear Peace/text 16/5/05 3:08 pm Page 36 Action Stations The explosives handling jetty-cum-Trident berthing site was the obvious choice, but approaching the Trident berths in a noisy boat was almost certainly doomed to failure. In any case there were well-understood ground rules of their own to obey.
The women knew they were on their way to the remand wing at Cornton Vale jail for at least three months but any sense of foreboding was trumped by their hopes that they were also on the way to success. So it was against that background that I completed my first consultation with Ulla Roder and went back to reception whilst special arrangements were made for all three women and their lawyers to meet in a room where they could discuss their common defence. It took the rest of the day and was an occasion I will never forget.
Every system has its soft underbelly and in the case of Trident it is reliance upon anechoic secrecy. That means that, when the submarines are at sea, they are silent and thus cannot be traced by satellites searching the ocean depths for sound patterns that identify each submarine as though it were sailing in broad daylight. Bingo. If the system controlling that secrecy could be deactivated then there would be no way the submarine commanders, or for that matter those in Whitehall, could be certain that Trident was presenting an ‘invisible sound signature at sea’.