Office for Nuclear Regulation

Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield – Inspection ID: 52417

Executive summary

Date(s) of inspection:

  • April 2023

Aim of inspection

The aim of the inspection was to undertake a regulatory compliance inspection against all duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order 2005, (Articles 8 to 22), or by regulations made under Article 24, to ensure that the licensee is compliant in respect of the premises:

Specifically, to provide assurance that the Licensee’s arrangements associated with all applicable articles are suitable and adequate, and that the licensee is working to those arrangements.

Subject(s) of inspection

  • Fire (Life Safety) Compliance Inspection – Rating: Green
  • Fire Risk Assessments – Rating: Green
  • Fire Safety Strategies – Rating: Green
  • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Rating: Green

Key findings, inspector’s opinions and reasons for judgement made

Fire risk assessments were provided in advance of the inspection and were found to be comprehensive and informative.

Records relating to testing and maintenance of the fire safety systems were sampled electronically and it was confirmed that testing of the fire alarm is carried out at the start of each day which is over and above the basic weekly testing requirements. This is done for operational reasons.

The fire alarm and detection systems were found to be operable, with few instances of failure recorded, and the work to fit and commission a new system is progressing well with a projected completion date of Q3 2024.

General housekeeping and control of combustible materials throughout the facility was found to be suitable and adequate.

Records sampled relating to staff fire safety training were in-date, and it was confirmed that training is repeated at 3 yearly intervals which meets relevant good practice.

Overall I found that fire safety was well managed at the facility by competent persons with a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities.


Overall, I am satisfied that the facility management team ensures that fire safety within the facility is taken seriously, and demonstrate a clear understanding of the requirements to ensure continued compliance at the site.

AWE recognises the challenging context of some areas within this facility, and are committed to managing the risks to life in these locations. Throughout the inspection, all of those that I had contact with demonstrated an enthusiastic focus, support and attention to life fire safety requirements.

The inspection team were satisfied that overall the duty-holders arrangements in relation to the statutory requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 are suitable and adequate, and that the duty holder is working to those arrangements, and have therefore rated the intervention Green – No Formal Action.

This rating is in line with the established ONR guidance as follows:

“Relevant good practice generally met, or minor shortfalls identified, when compared with appropriate benchmarks.”

“No significant shortfalls identified in the delivery of safety, safeguards or security functions.”