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Nuclear emergency plan for West Berkshire to be published next year

Plan would set out response to emergency on AWE sites

Local Democracy Reporter Nathan Hyde

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Nuclear emergency plan for West Berkshire to be published next year

A new plan that outlines what should happen if there is a nuclear emergency at one of West Berkshire’s atomic weapons factories will be published next year.

The Government ordered West Berkshire Council to review and revise its Off-Site Emergency Plan for Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield by May 2020.

The council says it has already revised it and "a public version of the plan to be made available in January 2021".

The plan sets how emergency services, the Ministry of Defence, AWE and the council should respond in the event of a nuclear emergency at one of the sites.

According to the council, the plan must "mitigate, so far as is reasonably practicable, the consequences of a radiation emergency".

The plan covers pre-determined areas around the AWE sites, which are known as Detailed Emergency Planning Zones.

Last year, the Office for Nuclear Regulation ordered both AWE sites in West Berkshire to make improvements to their safety procedures, but said it "does not consider that the issue poses an immediate risk to nuclear safety".

A council spokeswoman said: "The council, along with other members of the AWE Off-Site Planning Group did revise the AWE Off-Site Plan in May 2020.

"The plan is currently going through a further update as a result of some changes which should result in a further update by the end of November.

"It is under constant review to reflect organisational and operational changes.

"There is no requirement to publish the plan, but we are looking to create a public version of the plan to be made available in January 2021 to complement the information already issued in the booklet which is on the website."

All councils which have nuclear sites within their remit were required to update their Off-Site Emergency Plans when the government introduced the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (REPPIR) in May 2019.

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