Office for Nuclear Regulation

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AWE Improvement Notices extended

14 January, 2021

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has agreed to extend two Improvement Notices served on the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), recognising the good progress made so far.

The Notices, which were served in June 2019, relate to the way the company controls changes to organisational structure and resources which may affect safety.

ONR has agreed to the extension on the basis that it judges AWE is currently operating safely, and additional time to demonstrate sustainable improvements will not pose an increased risk to safety.

The Aldermaston and Burghfield sites were served with two identical notices because each has a separate nuclear site licence.

On a nuclear licensed site, the licensee’s arrangements for the management of organisational change must ensure that the nuclear safety implications of a proposed change are fully considered and that risks arising from the implementation of the organisational change are recognised and suitably controlled. These arrangements must be part of a licensee’s management system.

ONR notes that AWE has made significant progress in its work to meet the requirements of the Notices which were served in June 2019. However, in light of the Ministry of Defence’s recent decision to change AWE’s operating model, alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more time has been agreed to allow the licensee to demonstrate sustainable improvements.

AWE must now comply with the Improvement Notices by December 2021.

ONR will continue to monitor progress over the period of the extension and will hold AWE to account to ensure full compliance.