What we do
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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. Safety and security is at the heart of everything we do.
In addition to our own high standards of safety and security, we are independently regulated against 36 licence conditions covering everything from having appropriate designs for nuclear plant and equipment, trained and suitably experienced staff to managing nuclear waste safely and effectively.
To prepare for licensing, we developed safety cases for both sites – examining every single operation, assessing its risks and seeing how they could be eliminated or reduced. These form part of our robust safety management system, which is routinely audited as part of our site licence conditions.
We are very proud of our health and safety culture that runs throughout the company today. Our records on safety and performance within our capital projects continue to improve. Work on our replacement assembly and disassembly facility has involved approaching 4 million man-hours without a lost-time incident. Our environment and health and safety performance are also reported and published regularly.
Monitoring by other regulators
The Health and Safety Executive – Field Operations Directorate (FOD) – regulates compliance with general health and safety legislation (Health and Safety at Work Act) and the regulations that are derived from it.
Environment Agency – Regulates compliance with environmental legislation, permits and discharge authorisations.
DNSR/NWR Nuclear Weapons Regulator – Part of Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), regulates the nuclear weapons programme to provide reassurance to the Secretary of State for Defence.
Defence Fire and Rescue Service – Regulates our Fire Authority (fire safety) and our on-site Fire and Rescue Service (operations, manpower, appliances, equipment and response).
The Control of Major Accident Hazards (CoMAH) regulations are intended to prevent or reduce the consequences of major industrial accidents. Applicability is determined by the amount of certain hazardous substances stored or processed.
CoMAH does not cover nuclear or radioactive materials and our sites do not hold large quantities of hazardous materials as classified by CoMAH. However, smaller quantities of diesel fuel and other substances are held at AWE Aldermaston. The site is therefore classed as a ‘Lower Tier’ site under CoMAH. As a Lower Tier site, AWE has a Major Accident Prevention Policy, which highlights how committed we are to preventing all major accidents and to limiting the impact on people and the environment.
Our Burghfield site does not meet the threshold for classification under CoMAH. The Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency jointly regulate CoMAH sites.