AWE, the private consortium that operates Trident nuclear weapons facilities at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence, has come under fire from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) for failures in managing its hazardous wastes.
The EA has issued AWE with a “non-compliance” notice because key posts meant to ensure the safe handling of wastes have been vacant for months. These include waste officers, radioactive specialists and the head of environment.
AWE blamed “security requirements” - which can include the vetting of prospective employees - for delays in filling the vacancies. According to the EA, AWE has breached conditions imposed in 2012 to ensure that enough skilled staff were employed to look after radioactive wastes safely.
“Operators are expected to comply with their permit conditions at all times,” an EA spokesman told The Guardian. “Following a site audit we found that AWE Aldermaston was not fully complying with all their permit conditions.”