The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to sustain its commitment to the nuclear deterrent by continuing to invest £1bn a year on facilities at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
According to the MoD, the AWE is central to the development and maintenance of the UK’s nuclear capability, Trident. Scientists at the Berkshire site are involved from the initial concept and design of the warheads, through manufacture and support to their decommissioning and disposal.
The MoD has now reached an agreement with AWE Management Limited (AWEML) — the joint venture contracted to manage and operate the site in 2000 — for a further priced period of work under its existing 25-year contract.
This agreement, which will see the MoD invest £1bn a year over the next five years, provides investment in skills and facilities at the company’s site in Aldermaston and Burghfield, Berkshire, where more than 4,500 staff are based.
Around 40 per cent of this money will be invested in essential capital projects, including production and research facilities. The remainder will be spent on operating and maintaining the AWE.
The investment will enable AWE to perform its vital work in support of the UK’s nuclear deterrent until March 2018, when another priced period of work will be agreed.