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AWE plc complies with ONR Improvement Notice

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has informed Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) plc that it is satisfied AWE has complied with an Improvement Notice following the completion of structural repairs to a manufacturing facility at Aldermaston.

AWE has now complied with the Improvement Notice issued in November 2012 following its discovery of unexpected corrosion to structural steelwork in the uranium manufacturing facility building at its Aldermaston site.

ONR took enforcement action as it considered that AWE had failed to make and implement adequate arrangements for the examination, inspection and maintenance of the building, thereby potentially exposing its workers and others to risks to their health and safety.

Having been served the Improvement Notice, AWE suspended normal operations, under management arrangements, and began a programme of structural inspections to determine the extent of the issue and develop suitable repair techniques.

With progress regularly monitored by ONR’s civil engineering specialist inspectors, permission was granted for repair work to begin in June 2013.

The Improvement Notice placed four requirements on AWE:

  1. Complete the inspection of the building.
  2. Repair the building to an acceptable standard.
  3. Carry out a review to identify lessons learnt.
  4. Based on lessons learnt, carry out a review of the Plant Maintenance Schedule for the facility in question.

While items 1, 3 and 4 were completed by the original deadline of 31 December 2013, AWE applied to ONR for an extension to complete the repair works.  ONR is now satisfied that the structural repairs have been completed to an acceptable standard ahead of the revised May 2015 deadline.

Homepage image courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.

Edited on Thursday 26 March.