Thousands of archive files relating to Britain’s nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes have been withdrawn without warning from public view. A vast cache of material dating from 1939 until the 1980s and including more than 1,700 files about the creation of Britain’s first nuclear bombs at Aldermaston has been unexpectedly withdrawn by the National Archives within the last week, researchers have reported. The files were withdrawn at the instruction of the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, according to the National Archives. They range from the private papers of Sir John Cockcroft, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who split the atomic nucleus, to reports of atomic bomb tests carried out as part of the creation of Britain’s nuclear deterrent in Australia and the Pacific. Attempts to access them online are met with the message: “This record is closed whilst access is under review.” Neither the National Archives at Kew nor the NDA were able to comment on Sunday about why they had been removed. Speculation among academics who rely on the papers for their research ranged from whether the NDA had realised there was something in the files that shouldn’t have been made public to more prosaic suggestions such as a reorganisation of the files or a shift in location.
Guardian 23rd Dec 2018 read more »