FURTHER safety concerns have been raised in regards to the running of the UK’s nuclear warhead assembly facility.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has required immediate safety changes to be put in place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

If sufficient progress is not made on reducing risk at the facility, the ONR has said that operations may need to stop altogether.

There has been a series of announcements related to safety concerns at AWE, including the ONR placing the Aldermaston and Burghfield facilities into special measures.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Aldermaston has been in special measures, and the third year in a row for the Burghfield site.

AWE said after being put into special measures, an investigation was undertaken.

A spokesperson for AWE said: “AWE has co-operated fully with the ONR’s independent investigation into this incident.

“AWE is continuing to operate safely, and places safety at the heart of its operations. We maintain a close working relationship with ONR and our other regulators.”

David Cullen, director of the nuclear information service, said: “It is good that the regulator has stepped in, but this situation should never have happened in the first place.

“It is completely unacceptable that nuclear weapons are still being built in an antiquated facility like this.

“The public need to be certain that if the MOD can’t deliver it’s upgrades to the nuclear weapons programme on time and to budget they will not just cut corners on safety instead. What we have seen so far is not encouraging.”