Additional confirmation of the Scottish government’s sensible nuclear policy . . .
Withdrawal of safety awards to two nuclear weapons plants
As Roundtree7.com says: “Not safe, misrepresented as solution to global warming, too expensive, waste disposal problems, vulnerable to terrorist attacks. When you add this to the current situation in Japan, is nuclear energy really a viable solution?”
Following a report in the latest newsletter from West Midlands CND, attention was drawn to Rob Edwards’ article about safety breaches at two of Britain’s nuclear establishments.
In 2011, 2012 and 2013, gold safety awards from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) were presented to AWE, a private consortium which operates nuclear weapons facilities at Aldermaston (left) and Burghfield in Berkshire for the Ministry of Defence.
Following a £200,000 fine imposed in 2013 for breaching safety rules during a fire at an explosives plant that injured a worker, the 2011 award was downgraded to a bronze award and the awards for 2012 and 2013 were withdrawn completely. No photos of the Aldermaston fire are available, due no doubt for reputational and security reasons, but several of the fire engines called in.
The government’s safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), is considering legal enforcement action against AWE over two recent incidents in which building fire detection systems were found to be defective. One detector at a medium-level radioactive facility had been out of action for “an extended period”.
Though AWE pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court on 16 May 2013 to failing to ensure the safety of its employees in breach of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, problems with fire safety persisted. In February, AWE discovered and reported to the ONR two incidents involving faulty fire alarms in facilities holding radioactive material.
In an earlier article Rob Edwards recorded that – in response to inquiries – AWE admitted that there had been as many as 50 ‘minor’ fires at Aldermaston over two years.
Pete Wilkinson, director of Nuclear Information Service in Reading, pointed out that ONR was now giving AWE enhanced regulatory attention.
“Nuclear safety at the factory can hardly be said to meet gold star standards,” he said.
“AWE’s recent record on fire safety is not good and despite claims by the company that improvements have been made since the 2010 fire at Aldermaston, there are obviously still problems at the site. The issues over safety management at AWE sites also raise questions about the competence of AWE to control the establishment”.
Read Edward’s full article: http://www.robedwards.com/2014/06/safety-awards-for-nuclear-bomb-plants-withdrawn-after-fire.html
And his latest: EDF Energy applying for new authorisations to allow radioactive waste to be transported by road between its two nuclear power stations at Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian. http://www.robedwards.com/2014/07/nightmare-of-nuclear-waste-shipments-across-scotland.html
See Roundtree7’s powerful short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFIGqCO08XM
Posted on July 10, 2014, in Government, Planning, Reward for failure, Secret State, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, Aldermaston, Aldermaston fire, AWE, EDF Energy, Nuclear Information Service, Nuclear safety, Office for Nuclear Regulation, Rob Edwards, Roundtree7, Scottish government, West Midlands CND. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.