INTENSIFIED scrutiny is being placed on one of Basingstoke and Deane’s major employers amidst safety concerns.

As previously reported in the Gazette the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston and Burghfield has been served an improvement notice from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Now, a new report from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), reveals the sites will continue to be scrutinised under enhanced regulatory attention until at least 2021.

The independent nuclear regulator does not consider that the issue poses an immediate risk to nuclear safety, but expects to see sustained improvements so that safety is not adversely affected in the future.

ONR has been focusing on AWE’s organisational change performance for some time. Despite a previous enforcement letter, undertaking targeted inspections and the provision of regulatory advice and guidance, ONR judges that AWE has failed to adequately address shortfalls.

This latest review of the safety concerns around the facility based in Aldermaston and Burghfield comes as part of the chief nuclear inspector at the ONR’s annual report for 2018/19 which was published on October 11.

The inspector’s report read: “The AWE sites will remain under enhanced regulatory attention until we are satisfied that sufficient progress has been demonstrated.

“[This is] recognising that AWE has a programme of work in place to improve safety performance, the nature of improvements required, and the time they will take to deliver and embed.”

Paul Rees, AWE’s director of environment, safety and health, said: “While we acknowledge that short-term challenges remain, the progress we are making in some areas demonstrates our strong commitment to improving safety and regulatory compliance.

“Achieving the highest standards in safety performance is a priority for everyone at AWE, and we will continue to work closely with our regulators to achieve this.”