What to do in an emergency at an AWE site

West Berkshire Council and AWE have developed a public information booklet that tells you what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency at the AWE Aldermaston or Burghfield sites.

This booklet tells you more about the possible hazards from an emergency involving the release of radioactive material and provides advice on what actions to take.

In the event of a radiation emergency at an AWE site you should:

  • Go in – go indoors and follow the advice below.
  • Stay in – close and stay away from all windows and doors. Damp down or put out fires and turn off any fans that could draw air from outside.
  • Tune in – tune in to local radio and TV. Advice and updates will also be given on news websites and social media.
  • Don’t use your phone – don’t use your landline or mobile unless there is a separate emergency. This could overload the system and should be left clear for the emergency services.
  • Don’t leave the area – don’t leave the area unless told to do so by the emergency services. You will be much safer indoors.

What is REPPIR?

Like all nuclear-licensed sites, AWE is subject to the Radiation Emergency Preparedness and Public Information Regulations (known as REPPIR).

On 22 May 2019, the government introduced the new Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 to strengthen the already robust national emergency preparedness and response arrangements for radiological emergencies. These replaced the REPPIR 2001 regulations.

What are we doing to protect you?

Every AWE facility has measures in place to prevent a radiation emergency taking place and rigorous emergency response procedures which are exercised regularly with the emergency services and local authorities.

AWE is independently regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation which also ensures that adequate arrangements are in place for dealing with any emergency arising from AWE and its operations.

 What is an emergency planning zone?

The emergency planning zones are areas where the local authority, in this case West Berkshire Council, must establish adequate emergency response planning arrangements to protect the public.

The public information leaflet provides details of the extent of the emergency planning zones around the AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield sites and explains how you would be alerted.

Further details of the arrangements and interactive maps of the emergency planning zones are also available on the West Berkshire Council website