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The project has serious safety risks, on a number of counts, both during the building phase (see below) and once it is operating.

An article published in the New Scientist (19 September 2007) reveals that Burghfield has been struggling to remedy more than 300 safety defects uncovered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII). “And it has only been allowed to remain open because the Ministry of Defence says the work it does is vital.”

[The full article is available on]

Please help to stop this building going ahead; it is where vital component for nuclear warheads will be made. This is a real chance to stop the current and future nuclear weapons programme

Please write to the Planning Officer (details below), objecting to this new building.
Your objections should be purely on "planning" grounds (visual appearance of building, environmental impact, traffic management etc). While legal, moral and safety grounds are not technically grounds for objection, these have been noted in previous planning officer reports.

We are asking everyone to call for a public inquiry into this application, on the grounds that insufficient detailed information about the serious risks to health and safety involved in the preparation of the site for construction has not been provided by the applicant.

If you wish to add more detail in your letter please include the following risks:
· Risk 1 - radiation: HM Inspectors (Nuclear Installations Inspectorate) have been consulted on this application, which suggests that that there is a radiation risk to this activity, however this is not disclosed on the application;
· Risk 2 – explosion: The Land Contamination Statement states that contamination has been found, and that there is a “high” risk of explosion during excavation of the site, including a risk of explosion from residue in drains and from disturbing buried ordnance.
· Risk 3 - contamination - the redundant buildings may have contaminated the ground and both surface and groundwater is at risk. What are the dangers involved in the remediation works needed in advance of construction to remove contamination from the site?
· Risk 4: radioactive waste. No indication is given in the application about the storage on site of low-level radioactive waste materials from redundant buildings and excavated materials
· Risk 5 - flooding - in light of the recent floods in the area (including Burghfield) what precautions have been taken in planning drainage, to avoid flooding and contamination, as mercury - probably from the existing manufacturing facility has contaminated the groundwater in the past.
We believe that:
· the MoD should not be allowed to proceed with this scheme, which proposes that they would monitor such risks “as they go along”; [you could add .. especially in view of the recent report in the New Scientist that Burghfield have been unable to comply with instructions form the NII to rectify known faults, how can they be trusted to remedy risks they discover as they go along with the new build)
· that it is not acceptable to allow developments which are likely to cause serious health and safety risks without those risks being identified, managed, controlled and removed before development
· this application should be called in for a public inquiry on the grounds that sufficient detailed information about the serious risks to health and safety has not been provided by the applicant.

*PLEASE WRITE TO* (Quoting Application Number: 07/01686/COMIND)
Clive Inwards, Senior Planning Officer or
Fax: 01635-519408

By post:
Clive Inwards
Planning Officer
Council Offices
Market Street
RG14 5LD
Tel: 01635 519111

[You could also send copies of your letters to the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and the Environmental Agency]


Application details
Application Number: 07/01686/COMIND
Address: Atomic Weapons Establishment, Burghfield Reading, Berkshire, RG30 3RP
Applicant: MoD Estates Blandford House Aldershot GU11 2HA Tel: 01252 361922
Proposal: New small-scale components manufacturing facility, associated plant and landscaping.
Expiry Date for Standard Consultation: 09/11/07
For further details see

The new “small-scale manufacturing facility” will prepare components for the “positioning and sealing of other components”. This means that it will manufacture components, which are used in the refurbishment of the current warheads, which are periodically returned from the warhead store at Coulport in Scotland to Burghfield where they are dismantled and rebuilt with new components (expected to be in use until at least 2022).

The components will be produced in small batches, and used periodically. (They include: Polyurethane foams; polyurethane adhesives; silicone “potting” compounds; ceramic components; synthetic rubbers and metallic “blanks” or “spacers”. This suggests that the facility will manufacture the non-fissile components of a warhead.