The United Kingdom will carry out a second year of special monitoring at a nuclear-arms site in breach of waste and safety rules, the Basingstoke Gazette reports.
The British Nuclear Regulation Office said in a yearly report that certain protective measures “do not meet expectations” at the Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Aldermaston, the newspaper reported on Wednesday. The document notes that the site includes deteriorating structures, and airs worries over “the timeliness and quality of periodic reviews” there.
“We are currently investigating AWE Aldermaston’s apparent failure to meet a formal regulatory requirement … that required the reduction in volume and encapsulation of 1,000 drums of intermediate-level waste by February 2014,” the BBC quoted the report as saying.
“We are also in discussion with AWE about events relating to shortfalls in the operability and availability of building fire-detection systems,” the atomic office said. “For both matters we will consider whether enforcement action is appropriate.”
Pete Wilkinson, an independent issue expert, said the document “shows that, while safety standards at many nuclear sites are improving, AWE is just muddling along and marking time,” the Gazette reported.
“Vast sums of money are being spent at Aldermaston but we are seeing no improvement in standards because the money is being spent on experiments and facilities to build new nuclear weapons, rather than on improving safety,” said Wilkinson, who heads the Nuclear Information Service in Reading.
The Aldermaston facility, though, said it “fully supports the [Nuclear Regulation Office’s] focus on continuous improvement, effective hazard control and maintaining high standards.”