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AWE Burghfield: Nuclear Weapons

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the resilience to nuclear accidents of the proposed main process facility for assembling and dis-assembling nuclear warheads at AWE Burghfield. (248173)

The proposed main process facility for the assembly and disassembly of nuclear warheads at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield is designed in accordance with internationally recognised standards and codes of practice that are applicable to any facility containing explosives and nuclear hazards. These standards have been developed and refined from experience across the nuclear field following research conducted into a number of accident scenarios, to ensure a demonstrably acceptable risk to the public, the work force and the environment.

Given the existence of robust recognised standards, further research is not currently required. Extensive analysis has, however, been conducted by experts at AWE to substantiate the building design and to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive’s nuclear installations inspectorate and hazardous installations directorate.