A £2.2bn contract to manage the Ministry of Defence’s Atomic Weapons Establishment over the next 10 years has been awarded to a consortium led by Lockheed Martin of the US, working with Serco Defence and British Nuclear Fuels.
The new contract starts on 1 April. The consortium, called AWE Management, will replace Hunting BRAE, which has run the Aldermaston and Burghfield sites in Berkshire for the past seven years.
The Government will retain an option to extend the life of the contract to 25 years, but will also have the right to end it in the case of any safety breaches.
Safety has been a controversial issue under Hunting BRAE’s management. AWE is being prosecuted for alleged safety breaches, and was fined £22,000 last year after two workers were contaminated by plutonium.
Staff will continue to be employed by AWE, ownership of which will pass to the AWE Management consortium for the length of the contract.
Defence minister John Spellar said security vetting of staff would continue to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence.