New planning application submitted for development at AWE Aldermaston

At the end of November the Ministry of Defence (MoD) submitted a planning application to West Berkshire Council for construction of a Technology Development Centre at AWE Aldermaston. The Centre is being built as part of the UK's contribution to a joint UK – France warhead research programme known as 'Project Teutates'.

The Technology Development Centre will develop radiographic instrumentation for monitoring and analysing the results of hydrodynamics research experiments which will be conducted at a new joint research facility at Valduc in France. The Aldermaston and Valduc facilities are both scheduled to commence operation in 2015.

As is usual for planning applications submitted for AWE sites, information necessary to judge the risks posed by the development will be withheld from the public. A direction issued by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government allows the MoD to submit a limited environmental appraisal document to the local planning authority instead of undertaking a full environmental impact assessment.

The Technology Development Centre will design giant high power flash X-Ray machines for taking high speed photos of changes in materials during experiments which mimic the behaviour warhead components and mock-ups during a nuclear explosion. AWE has developed considerable expertise in such technology, based on Inverted Voltage Adder equipment, over many years of hydrodynamic research using existing facilities at Aldermaston.

The planning application is expected to be determined by West Berkshire Council's Eastern Area Planning Committee in late January / early February 2012. You can have your say by visiting the West Berkshire planning applications website (warning – not easy to use!) or by writing to:

Planning Department
West Berkshire Council
Council Offices
Market Street
RG14 5LD

You should quote application reference 11/02557/COMIND in your letter.

Please object to AWE's latest planning application

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has submitted a new planning application to West Berkshire Council for a warhead components manufacturing facility at AWE Burghfield. The planned conventional manufacturing rationalisation facility (CMR facility) will play a key role in the future of the UK's nuclear weapons programme. Please write to West Berkshire Council with your views on this application.

NAG Objection to the AWE Laser Proposal

The absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment still after all this time has to be a matter of great concern. The 1998 Strategic Defence Review, in its environmental appraisal, stated “Where a number of the SDR activities are not considered to have a significant environmental impact in their own right, but are proposed for the same site, there is the potential for cumulative effects to occur. This situation might arise at the following locations where more detailed studies are recommended”. Aldermaston is one of the locations listed.

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