- NIS UPDATE 18th August 2008
- Planning Committee Approval for CMRF
- As expected, West Berks Council Planning Committee gave planning approval to AWE for the Conventional Manufacturing Rationalisation Facility at AWE Burghfield on 13th August. The building is part of the additional £350 million a year government funded project for AWE's overall development plan. As such it seems a pointless exercise for the proposal to go through the local planning process. Any council obstruction to such plans could cost council tax-payers dearly since it would trigger a Public Inquiry costing £millions. 148 Objections were received, including one from Jamie Hepburn MSP. Sian Jones for Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) AWPC, put the case against the proposal verbally. She argued that the plan should be conditional on the completion of work to rectify outstanding safety shortfalls at Burghfield. Councillors considered this together with highway and flood issues, but there was no serious threat that the plan would not be passed. AWE stated that there were no safety reasons to delay and that the company had already answered safety concerns by reporting to the Local Liaison Committee. One dissenting vote came from a new member of the committee and the plan was passed with 19 Conditions ranging from tree planting, drainage and dealing with contaminated land. A peace banner protest was held outside the Community Centre venue by AWPC before the meeting.
- The Reading Post reported that the new building was "non-atomic" since the nuclear warhead components factory would not deal with radioactive materials. http://www.getreading.co.uk/search/hpsbq/10/1/112//%23
AWE Warhead Project
In order to reduce warhead delivery time and costs, a Lockheed Martin management plan, known as ‘Lean Six Sigma' has been adopted at AWE. The aim is to manage facility modifications or changes to comply with the nuclear site license where "staff are disillusioned with the process". The results reported in AWE Today, June 2008, claim to "reduced time and better-focused work to plan and implement facility modification and so implement safety improvements." Allusion to the NII's nuclear license suggests that this system is related to safety shortfall problems and staff concerns about management regimes.
Nuclear Warhead Transport
A nuclear warhead convoy from AWE Aldermaston went to Scotland on 23rd July, returning to AWE Burghfield on 29th July with warheads from RNAD Coulport for decommissioning or possibly, servicing. The permissioning regime remains in place whereby AWEplc must apply to the NII each time it needs to do live warhead work.
The 6-year-old massive AWE Blue Oak Computer is to be replaced by the end of the summer by Redwood, a next generation supercomputer. 80 hard drives have to be transferred by hand to the 20-times-faster new computer before 12 old frames are "loaded onto lorries and taken off-site for auction". Only 23 frames (racks) are required for the new computer, according to AWE Today, June 2008.
Freedom of Information (FoI) Documents
NIS requested copies of AWE Nuclear Accident Exercise Reports under the FoI Act from the MoD in August 2007. One year later, four of the fourteen requested documents have been provided. A review of these documents will be included in the September NIS Update.
- Previous issues of NIS Updates are available on the NIS website at http://www.nuclearinfo.org/