NAG’s origins and history
NAG emerged as a result of widespread concerns within local communities about the safety and impact of operations at the Atomic Weapons Establishments at Aldermaston and Burghfield. In March 1993, following the publication of the Greenpeace report ‘Inside the Citadel’ which exposed a catalogue of accidents and errors at Aldermaston, Reading Borough Council decided to organise a two-day community inquiry at Reading Civic Centre into the local impacts of AWE.
The inquiry was chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, and heard evidence from a wide range of local people, campaign groups, and Hunting Brae Ltd, who were at the time the contractor responsible for managing AWE. The report of the enquiry, entitled ‘Secrecy versus Safety’, inspired some of the local groups and councils that had been involved in the inquiry to set up a forum for local debate on AWE’s impact and activities.
Initially called the Nuclear Sites Community Forum, the new group set itself the priority of scrutinising health, safety, and environmental issues relating to AWE. The Forum has since changed its name to the Nuclear Awareness Group (NAG) - a company limited by guarantee – but its role remains the same. NAG also recognises, that if and when AWE ceases operations, the legacy waste and long-term hazards at the sites would remain a concern for local people and an issue on which NAG would aim to give voice to community concerns.
NAG is a membership organisation, but membership is not confined to the locality of the AWE sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield - anyone with concerns about the impact of AWE on the local and regional communities is welcome to join.
To find out more about the community inquiry into AWE and the history of NAG you can download the accompanying Powerpoint presentation, originally given by Kevin Holyer of Reading Borough Council to a meeting of Nuclear Free Futures (the English forum of Nuclear Free Local Authorities) in February 2006.