NIS Update: July 2014

Investigation into faulty fire detection systems underway at Atomic Weapons Establishment

The government's nuclear safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, is investigating the adequacy of fire detection systems at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, where the UK's nuclear weapons are manufactured, following two incidents when alarm systems were discovered to be defective.  Read more.


AWE agrees to return safety awards following fire prosecution

AWE plc, the company which operates the Atomic Weapons Establishment, has returned three awards presented by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents following the fire at AWE Aldermaston in 2010.  Read more.


Navy warship accidentally fires torpedo in Devonport dockyard

The Royal Navy is investigating an incident in which a dummy torpedo was accidentally fired from a warship at a dockyard where nuclear powered submarines are berthed and maintained.  Read more.


£300 million spending programme to allow construction of new Trident submarines at Barrow

The Ministry of Defence has announced a £300 million upgrade programme for the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness to allow construction of new 'Successor' class Trident replacement submarines.  Read more.


Artful launched as concerns over Barrow quay safety are addressed

Artful, the third of the Royal Navy's 'Astute' class attack submarines, was launched at the BAE Systems Barrow shipyard in May.  Read more.


UK performs poorly on nuclear materials in international rating

The UK scores poorly among nuclear-capable states for the security of its nuclear infrastructure and the quantities of nuclear materials it holds, according to a study by the influential Nuclear Threat Initiative.  Read more.


Clyde nuclear contractors dodge accident compensation costs

Private companies contracted to operate the Clyde nuclear submarine bases are being given a multi-million pound exemption by the Ministry of Defence to relieve them from paying compensation and clean-up costs in the event of a major accident.  Read more.


US-UK nuclear co-operation agreement undermines global non-proliferation efforts

A new report from Nuclear Information Service concludes that a controversial agreement which allows nuclear weapons technology to be shared between the United States of America and the United Kingdom undermines global non-proliferation efforts and should be reformed to help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.  Read more.


Discharge from AWE Burghfield exceeds permitted limits

An offsite effluent discharge from the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield has exceeded the permitted limit for suspended solids, according to an Environment Agency report.  The Agency provided “advice and guidance” to AWE following the incident, which took place during the first quarter of this year and was the result of a combination of construction activity close to the drainage system and high rainfall.


Trident Commission report published this week

The Trident Commission, assembled by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) to review the case for replacing Britain's Trident nuclear weapons, will be publishing the report of its conclusions this week.

The Commission's report will be launched on Tuesday I July at the Houses of Parliament and will be available to download from the BASIC website on the same morning.  BASIC also intend to publish a number of background papers to amplify on the issues discussed by the Commission.

The report is the conclusion of a three year study which took oral and written evidence from a number of experts, including representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence.  The Commission was chaired by Lord Browne of Ladyton, Sir Malcolm Campbell, and Sir Menzies Campbell, representatives of the three main political parties, and included diplomats, scientists, and academics among its members.

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