AWE prosecuted over Aldermaston bunker fire

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AWE, the company running the nuclear weapons plant at Aldermaston, is to be prosecuted over a fire in an explosives bunker.

The fire, on August 3, 2010, caused burns to one employee’s face and arm and resulted in the evacuation of nearby residents.

The Health and Safety Executive has announced that AWE plc will appear at Reading Magistrates' Court on August 6 to face three charges.

These are that AWE failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees, that it failed to take appropriate measures to limit the extent of fire or explosion concerning the storage of explosives and that it failed to ensure that suitable protective equipment was provided to its employees.

AWE plc builds and maintains Britain’s nuclear weapons. In response to the announcement, Andrew Jupp, AWE managing director said the company “deeply regrets the occurrence of the fire”.

He added: “Ensuring the safety of our staff, neighbours and local community is AWE’s highest priority. Following the fire we quickly initiated a thorough, independently-led investigation and published a report on June 2011.

“The specific operation being carried out at the time of the fire was immediately suspended and will not be re-started until a safe alternative process has been agreed with our regulators.”

The Health and Safety Executive is the country’s national regulator for workplace health.


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