Live updates

AWE reacts to fine over fire

Ms Valerie Hincks, AWE's, Senior Manager of Media and Public Affairs, said: "Following the conclusion today of the hearing, AWE plc notes and accepts the judge’s decision and remarks.

"We reiterate our regret that the fire occurred and that a member of our staff was injured.

"We have worked hard to implement our investigation’s recommendations as well as those made by the HSE.

"HSE has acknowledged AWE is now one of the best in class with regard to the response to some of the specific actions, and its overall assessment has positioned us as ‘amongst the best in the UK.

"We will continue to work with the HSE to implement continuous improvements in specific areas."

AWE fire was "entirely preventable"

After sentencing HSE inspector Dave Norman said: “The fire could have caused multiple casualties and it was entirely preventable had better control systems been in place.

“The failure to instigate such controls was dependent on AWE identifying potential hazards and risks, all of which were well documented, but that simply did not happen.

“Companies working with hazardous substances must take extreme care at all times and in all aspects of their operations.”

Advertisement

AWE sentencing after fire

The Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston will be sentenced today after it admitted safety breaches relating to a major fire at its Berkshire base.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive, the AWE admitted one charge of not ensuring the safety of employees.

One worker suffered burns to his face and arm in the fire which broke out in the building where explosives were being manufactured, in August 2010.

  1. Kate Bunkall

Atomic weapons plant admits failings

An atomic weapons plant has been accused of failing to protect its staff during a fire at the Berkshire base three years ago.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston today pleaded guilty to one charge of not ensuring the safety of employees.

One worker suffered burns to his face and arm in the fire which broke out in the building where explosives were being manufactured, in August 2010. Kate Bunkall sent this report from Reading Crown Court.

Advertisement

Weapons firm issues statement after fire warning

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire could be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over a fire two years ago.

One worker was left with burns to his arm and face after a blaze broke out in a building where explosives were housed.

The firm is due to appear before Reading Magistrates Court on August 6, for the first hearing in the case.

AWE plc deeply regrets the occurrence of the fire at our Aldermaston site. 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 the resulting report in 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.

"In view of the impending legal action, any further comment would be inappropriate at this time."

– Andrew Jupp, AWE’s Managing Director

Weapons firm faces fine over blaze

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire could be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over a fire two years ago.

One worker was left with burns to his arm and face after a blaze broke out in a building where explosives were housed.

An investigation revealed issues with control systems put in place by AWE plc.

The firm is due to appear before Reading Magistrates Court on August 6, for the first hearing in the case.

Continued MOD investment in Berks

The MoD has reached an agreement with AWE Management Limited (AWEML), which will see the MoD invest £1 billion a year over the next five years. This will provide investment in skills and facilities at the company’s site in Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berks, where more than 4,500 staff are based.

Around 40 per cent of this money will be invested in essential capital projects, including production and research facilities. The remainder will be spent on operating and maintaining the AWE.

Atomic Weapons Establishment is a centre of scientific and technological excellence, with some of the most advanced research, design and production facilities in the world. This investment announced today will help maintain 4,500 jobs and a key capability, which is essential for our national security.”

– Peter Luff, Defence Equipment and Support Minister