Calls for greater transparency at AWE following contamination incident

Local Green campaigners are calling for increased transparency following AWE plc's failure to disclose to the public details of a radioactive contamination event that happened at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in June 2009.

Radioactive contamination spread in a building undergoing decommissioning at AWE Aldermaston on 29th July 2009. Although radioactive material is not believed to have spread beyond the site boundary, the Health and Safety Executive are currently investigating the incident and are considering whether to take legal action against AWE over the matter.

Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency were informed of the contamination event by AWE, but the press and members of the public were kept in the dark about the incident.

Rob White of Reading Green Party said: “AWE do not appear to have learnt any lessons following the July 2007 flood that crippled the Burghfield nuclear warhead assembly plant. Following the flooding, the company's instinctive reaction was to cover up the incident.

“Exactly the same thing has happened following this latest incident. AWE have informed their regulators about the radioactive contamination, because they have a legal obligation to do this, but have made no effort whatsoever to tell the public how serious the problem was, or to provide any reassurance or warnings.”

Read the Newbury Weekly News coverage of the story here: http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/News/Article.aspx?articleID=11012 ]