AWE: Safety Measures

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th January 2016.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn Labour, Newport West

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the investigation conducted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation into the operability and availability of fire detection systems at the Atomic Weapons Establishment has been completed.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

The investigation conducted by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) into the operability and availability of fire detection systems at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) was completed in August 2014.

The investigation was instigated after AWE reported two events to ONR during February 2014 related to fire alarm and detection system failures, one concerning a facility at the Aldermaston site and the other a facility at the Burghfield site. Investigations of these events by AWE uncovered a configuration issue with a system in a third facility.

ONR’s investigation identified concerns regarding the competency of the maintainers, the delivery and recording of the maintenance and the configuration of the fire alarm and detection systems with regard to their required safety function.

ONR subsequently wrote to AWE requesting an improvement programme to address these matters, and has since been monitoring AWE’s progress against a comprehensive improvement programme agreed between ONR and AWE. AWE advised ONR in October 2015 that the improvement programme had been completed. This was confirmed by ONR following an intervention in December 2015.

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