Explosive Revelations: Cambridge receives money from nuclear weapons consortium

The University of Cambridge is one of the five UK universities to receive funding from the nuclear weapons industry.


Five institutions possess a ‘strategic alliance’ with the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) – a private consortium and self-styled ‘home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent’ – and Cambridge has been found to be one of them.

The University received around £2 million in just over two-and-a-half years. This money funded research into areas such as design physics, plasma physics, advanced computing and hydrodynamics at Cavendish Laboratory- all of which can contribute to the further development of nuclear weapons.

This shocking information was uncovered through a freedom of information request put in place by two groups advocating nuclear disarmament: the Nuclear Information Service (NIS) and Medact, a group made up of health officials.

Strategically well placed?

Cavendish Laboratory. Strategically well placed?

The director of the NIS, Pete Wilkinson, warned “of the risks from being seduced into murky waters by the lure of the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s cash”. He also argued that “work which will allow the UK to retain and develop its nuclear weapons over the long term has no place on the campus.”

Simon Sedgwick-Jell, a member of the Cambridge Green Party, added:

“As a world class institution that ought to be taking a lead in many areas, it would be better if the university did not have connections with the military side of the nuclear establishment.”

“Universities are being starved of funding and by force they find themselves looking in all sorts of undesirable places for money to keep going.”

The perfect disguise?

The perfect disguise?

However a spokeswoman for AWE sprung to the consortium’s defence, arguing that AWE’s programme supported and followed government policy regarding the nuclear deterrent.

A Cambridge spokesmen also defended the links with the AWE, pointing out that the research might involve fairly harmless or even beneficial things, such as the storage and decommissioning of weapons.

It seems likely that the fallout of these revelations won’t be going away any time soon.