We have two main locations in Berkshire, less than ten miles apart: Aldermaston and Burghfield.
It’s from here, and from additional facilities at Blacknest and Coulport, that we carry out research and production work on behalf of the MOD supporting the defence and security of the nation. We have around 6,000 employees working across our sites.
AWE Aldermaston covers a site of approximately 750 acres. Once a wartime airfield, today Aldermaston is a centre of excellence, housing advanced research, design and manufacturing facilities.
A former munitions factory, AWE Burghfield is a 225-acre site where warheads are assembled and maintained while in service, and decommissioned when out of service.
AWE Blacknest is home to the Forensic Seismology department. Here techniques are researched and developed to distinguish seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions from those generated by earthquakes. The forensic seismology work undertaken at Blacknest is pivotal to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
AWE Plc forms part of an ABL Alliance (with Babcock Marine and Lockheed Martin) to provide services at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport. The ABL Alliance manages strategic weapons services, bringing together complementary skills, experience and resources.
Site safety and security
Safety and security remain paramount to our operations and the way they are implemented and managed is kept under constant review. Our sites are licensed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) meaning we are subject to the exactly the same regulation as the UK’s civil nuclear industry.
We are also independently regulated by a number of other regulators who regularly monitor and review our operations. This covers everything from having appropriate designs for nuclear plant and equipment, trained and suitably experienced staff, to compliance with environmental legislation, permits and discharge authorisation, and managing nuclear waste safely and effectively.
We continue to improve security infrastructure and procedures to counter the ever present security threats in the UK. Additional training facilities have been provided for the Ministry of Defence Police who, along with a team of trained guards, provide security to each of our sites. Physical security controls have also been enhanced across certain areas of the sites.