THE base of the UK’s nuclear weapons development has been fined £1 million for health and safety failings.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), based in Aldermaston and Burghfield, admitted to offences under the under the Health and Safety at Work Act at Reading Magistrates Court.

The hearing came following an electrical incident at AWE in June 2017, at the company’s Aldermaston site which resulted in injury to an employee.

The incident was a conventional health and safety matter and there was no radiological risk to workers or the public.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) launched an investigation into AWE’s safety regulations, which led to the prosecution.

Donald Urquhart, ONR’s deputy chief inspector said: “This related to a conventional safety hazard and should have been avoided – and indeed would have been – had the right procedures and processes for safety been in place.

“I’m pleased to say that AWE has shown commitment to make substantial improvements on its side as regards electrical safety. I have a team that inspects the site and they will monitor progress towards achieving the standards we expect.”

As well as the £1million fine, AWE was also ordered to pay costs of £26,096.88.

Haydn Clulow, AWE chief operating officer, said: “A robust senior management investigation was immediately undertaken following the incident. This resulted in a full review of electrical safety processes and systems across the AWE sites, with actions being taken to minimise the risk of recurrence.

“AWE has already introduced a wide range of measures designed to further improve electrical safety on its sites and has taken significant steps to increase employee and contractor awareness when working.”