Nuclear Awareness Group (NAG) has criticised the government's nuclear safety watchdog for refusing to explain why a Berkshire factory which manufactures the UK's nuclear weapons has not been prosecuted for treating its radioactive waste – despite having clearly broken the law.
Nuclear Awareness Group has written to the government's nuclear safety regulator to ask why the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) will not be prosecuted for failing to treat radioactive waste stocks which have accumulated at its Aldermaston site – even though the company defied a legally binding instruction by missing a deadline to deal with the waste.
David Griffiths from the Environment Agency's Nuclear Regulation Group was our guest at the spring 2011 NAG meeting to reveal the untold story of how radioactive discharges from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) have reduced over the last forty years. Using data from AWE and the Ministry of Defence which has never before been presented in public, David gave a fascinating presentation about efforts to drive down the levels of radioactive material released from AWE sites.
The basic principle needs to be that the polluter pays - the production of radioactive waste involves responsibility for its long-term storage. Any subsidies from the taxpayer should be dealt with on a justification basis
AWE Aldermaston is already an Option 1 site (interim storage above ground) without any public consultation. We do not know how much research was done before the ILW stores were put in place. There is a history of ILW being stored at Aldermaston with varying degrees of safety which dates back to 1982 when sea-dumping ceased.
ILW is going to have to remain on site for at least 50 years from what is reported in the papers we have been sent.