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AWE complies with Improvement Notice

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) can confirm that Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has complied with an Improvement Notice served in July 2015 concerning the management of its Higher Active radioactive Waste (HAW).

The Improvement Notice was served following AWE’s failure to demonstrate that its long-term strategy for managing HAW at Aldermaston reduced the risk to the health and safety of the public and employees so far as reasonably practicable, and required AWE to recommend options for how it will adequately control risk that could arise in the future from all current and predicted arisings of HAW.

AWE has now developed options for the management of HAW on the Aldermaston site which, if properly planned and implemented, will enable the risk to the health and safety of the public and employees to be reduced so far as reasonably practicable. In complying with the Improvement Notice, AWE has proposed activities that are focused on near term hazard reduction of the highest hazard waste packages and has committed to further demonstrate that the storage environment of the HAW inventory remains appropriate throughout the anticipated period of storage.

Further work is required to implement the options identified, and ONR’s regulatory focus will now turn to AWE’s implementation of a forward plan of work to ensure continued progress and timely delivery of the necessary hazard and risk reduction. ONR is satisfied that the current conditions under which the waste is stored are acceptable and do not give rise to significant risk to the public or the workforce.

Chief Nuclear Inspector Richard Savage said: “We are satisfied that AWE has made sufficient progress to meet the requirements of the Improvement Notice, which is part of our longer-term strategy aimed at securing safety improvements at AWE Aldermaston. The Aldermaston site continues to receive enhanced regulatory attention from ONR.”