British Pugwash Group

The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs take their name from the location of the first meeting, which was held in 1957 in the village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, birthplace of the American philanthropist Cyrus Eaton, who hosted the meeting. The stimulus for that gathering was a Manifesto issued in 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein — and signed also by Max Born, Percy Bridgman, Leopold Infeld, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Herman Muller, Linus Pauling, Cecil Powell, Joseph Rotblat, and Hideki Yukawa — which called upon scientists of all political persuasions to assemble to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons. The 1957 meeting was attended by 22 eminent scientists (seven from the United States, three each from the Soviet Union and Japan, two each from the United Kingdom and Canada, and one each from Australia, Austria, China, France, and Poland).

Since then, Pugwash Conferences have been held annually, attended by 150 to 250 people , at locations all over the world, and there have been more frequent topical Workshops and Symposia typically involving 30 to 50 participants. A rather decentralized organizational structure has been created to coordinate and finance this activity. A basic rule is that participation is always by individuals in their private capacity (not as representatives of governments or organizations).
The purpose of the Pugwash Conferences is to bring together, from around the world, influential scholars and public figures concerned with reducing the danger of armed conflict and seeking cooperative solutions for global problems. Meeting in private as individuals, rather than as representatives of governments or institutions, Pugwash participants exchange views and explore alternative approaches to arms control and tension reduction with a combination of candour, continuity, and flexibility seldom attained in official East-West and North-South discussions and negotiations.

In order to ensure continuity of activity between the major events described above, many of the nations from which Pugwash participants are drawn have chosen to establish national groups, which meet more frequently, and engage in research and public relations activities in areas related to the purposes of International Pugwash. The British Pugwash Group is one such group, and has for many years been working on problems relating to non-proliferation and disarmament, covering both nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. In recent years, it has engaged in projects relating to the UK plutonium stockpile, the future of the UK Trident deterrent, and problems in the verification of nuclear weapon dismantlement.

Contact information

British Pugwash Group

Ground Floor Flat, 63A Great Russell St, London WC1B 3BJ, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 6661

The team

Contacts Resume Speciality
Ian Crossland
Tel: +44 1453 861658
Dr Ian Crossland has worked in the UK nuclear industry for more than 40 years. Until 1990 he worked on the in-reactor behaviour of fuel. Since that time he has specialised in decommissioning and radioactive waste management. Since 2003 he has worked as an independent consultant to IAEA and several national radioactive waste management organisations in Europe. He has a particular interest in developing disposal solutions for disused sealed radioactive sources (e.g. old radium sources) in countries with minimal nuclear infrastructure. For the past few years, he has been involved with the ongoing cleanup and decommissioning at Chernobyl. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the British Pugwash Group and was an author of the 2009 British Pugwash report on “The Management of Separated Plutonium in the UK”.
  • Radioactive waste disposal
  • Economics of nuclear power
  • Energy policy
  • Non-proliferation
John L. Finney
Tel: +44-1452-618346
Prof. John Finney (UK) is Emeritus Professor of Physics at University College London, and has been Head of Neutron Science and ISIS Chief Scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Science Coordinator of the European Spallation Source Project.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of International Pugwash, a member of the Editorial Board of Science & Global Security, chair of the WMD Awareness Programme and a past Chairman of British Pugwash. In this context, his particular interests have included scientific issues relating to nuclear weapons policy, non-proliferation and disarmament, and he has been active in raising public awareness of nuclear weapons issues
  • Neutron Science
  • ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
  • Nuclear weapons policy
  • Non-proliferation
  • Disarmament
Ambassador (retd.) Peter Jenkins
Tel: +(44) 1225 335 961
Fax: + 41 22 906 16 49
Ambassador Peter Jenkins, CMG, is a former member of the British diplomatic service. His last post was that of Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations in Vienna. In that capacity he contributed to IAEA policy on a number of nuclear non-proliferation issues, and attended the 2005 NPT Review Conference, as well as its preparatory conferences in 2002 and 2003. He was also President of the 2007 IAEA conference on Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear Materials, and a vice-chairman of the UN Ad Hoc Committee for the negotiation of a UN Convention on Corruption.Earlier diplomatic assignments included stints in Britain’s embassies in Washington, Paris and Brasilia, and five years in Geneva as Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative, where he focussed on the World Trade Organization. Since leaving the diplomatic service he has been senior adviser to the Director of the International Institute for Applies Systems Analysis, and Special Representative for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership. He is currently a non-executive director of a company that promotes clean energy solutions and a member of the ADR Group’s panel of Ambassadorial mediators. He has an MA in Classical Studies from the University of Cambridge, and studied at the Harvard Graduate School for Arts and Sciences, where he was a Harkness Fellow.
  • Nuclear non-proliferation
  • Disarmament
  • Nuclear security
Nick Ritchie
Tel: +44 (0)7919 310605
Dr Nick Ritchie is a Lecturer in International Security at the University of York. He has been researching and publishing on nuclear disarmament, proliferation and arms control since 2000. He previously worked at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies and the independent NGO Oxford Research Group. His current research focuses on the UK programme to replace its current Trident nuclear weapons system. He is Honourary Secretary of the British Pugwash Committee and on the Board of Advisors of the UK Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at the Royal United Services Institute.
  • Nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control
  • UK and US nuclear weapons policies
  • International security
Christopher Watson
Member, Executive Committee
Tel: +44-1865-420661
Fax: +44-1865-420661
Dr Christopher Watson was elected as chairman of the British Pugwash Group in May 2011. Prior to this, he was deputy chairman of BPG for the preceding three years, and has been a member of the Pugwash movement since 1969. He has  had a career spanning 35 years in the UK nuclear industry, including 17 years at Culham, working on Controlled Fusion research (culminating in 5 years on the JET project). More recently he became the Business Development Manager for AEA Technology in Russia, a task which involved developing collaborative programmes with Russian colleagues in the management of the nuclear legacy of the Former Soviet Union. Since his retirement in 2002, he has been a consultant to the UK government in nuclear-related aid programmes, including a programme on the nuclear legacy in NW Russia (nuclear submarines and their spent fuel and radwaste) and its Closed Nuclear Cities programme.
  • Controlled fusion research
  • Nuclear legacy problems in Russia
  • Non-proliferation and disarmament issues