Spotlight on nuclear factory’s failure to publish environmental information

Nuclear Information Service has published a series of official reports documenting the safety and environmental performance of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) during the year 2012 to highlight AWE's failure to publish the data itself.

Berkshire's Atomic Weapons Establishment – where the UK's nuclear weapons are manufactured and maintained – has not published information about safety and discharges from the factory on its website for over a year – meaning that local members of the public have no way of assessing the potential impacts of the factories.

Nuclear Information Service (NIS) obtained the missing figures after making a request for AWE's environmental monitoring reports using the Freedom of Information Act.  The information has now been published on our website (available to download at the end of this article).

Information on AWE's environmental and safety performance is hard to find on the AWE corporate website, and sections of the website containing the company's Environment, Safety, and Health reports and Environmental Monitoring Reports have not been updated for well over a year.

The most recent copy of the Environment, Safety, and Health report for the company which has been posted on the AWE plc website is dated December 2010 – January 2011 (as at 12 April 2013).

The most recent copy of AWE's Environmental Monitoring Quarterly Reports available on the website is dated October – December 2011 (also as at 12 April 2013).

Nuclear Information Service has now published the environmental and safety information for 2012 on its own website for members of the public to access.  The information does not highlight any serious abnormal events, although it does reveal that an air sampler near the AWE Contractors' Gate recorded a higher than expected level of radioactivity.  AWE's investigations into the cause of this elevated reading were inconclusive.

Information on AWE's safety and environmental performance is provided to members of the Atomic Weapons Establishment Local Liaison Committee – a group of local councillors which meets behind closed doors on AWE sites – but even though the figures have no security classification and can be released to the public, they have not been passed on by any Liaison Committee member to their councils for information or for publication.


Download the environmental and safety monitoring reports for the Atomic Weapons Establishment for the year 2012 here:


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