lorna arnold

by Outreach ~ April 16th, 2014. Filed under: News.

conscience was sad to hear about the passing of Dr Lorna Arnold OBE last month on the 25th March 2014 but is glad to remember her unique life and impressive career.

Lorna and the h-bomb Lorna was a key voice of knowledge against nuclear weapons from the particular vantage point of living and working internationally as a civil servant throughout World War Two and as an official nuclear historian for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

Lorna was recruited to join World War Two in 1940 and served in the War Office, living in London throughout the blitz. She then worked in the Foreign Commonwealth Office as their first female diplomat, moving to Berlin where in dangerous times she slept with a pistol under her pillow. She was then posted to Washington DC in 1946 to help the joint American and British adminstration of post-war Germany.

Lorna joined the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in 1959 and after working on the Winscale Accident Comission she wrote her landmark book about the Winscale accident in 1957. In 1967 she joined the UKAEA Historians Office eventually becoming their official historian for 30 years, writing various books and articles on the British nuclear programme. She is remembered as someone who saw it her job to give the public a clear and accurate story rather than to serve the interests of the nuclear industry.

Living through the development of nuclear technology, seeing the effect of nuclear weapons and what they have failed to do, she became convinced that its value as a deterrent is an illusion and she was totally opposed to its operational use. Lorna called it the ‘nuclear tragedy’, the unforeseen consequences of her generations best scientists, many of whom she knew and admired, whose discoveries have brought the potential for mass destruction of human civilisation. She saw the use of nuclear weapons as disproportionate to any mitilitary aim. Lorna believed that today’s key issue is the overlooking of nuclear weapons as a danger, there is no conceivable use for the large stockpiles maintained by many countries. After a period of cold war anxiety, she thought that people have ‘got used’ to nuclear weapons and see them as an everyday reality. As conscience believes this should not be the case and we must continually work to highlight the true cost of nuclear weapons.

Please visit lornaarnold.org for more information about Lorna.

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