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Immediate safety changes are needed at UK Atomic Weapons Establishment

Ekklesia 13th Aug 2018 , *Burghfield** The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has required immediate safety
changes to be made at the UK’s nuclear warhead assembly facility and has
said that even with the changes, operations at the site can only continue
for a limited period of time.

If sufficient progress is not made on
reducing risk at the facility, ONR have said that operations may need to
stop altogether. The UK’s nuclear warheads are assembled in the Assembly
Technology Centre at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Burghfield,
using components manufactured at nearby AWE Aldermaston.

The work is carried out in buildings known as ‘Gravel Gerties’ which are designed
to collapse inwards and trap radioactive material if there is a partial
explosion during the assembly process. Burghfield’s Gravel Gerties are
thought to have been built in the 1950s. In May the National Audit Office
revealed that a replacement building is six years late and is expected to
cost £1.8 billion, an increase of 146 per cent over the £734 million
approved for the project in 2011.


August 15, 2018 - Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war

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