Trident plant shut down over safety fears

Work on Britain's Trident nuclear warhead programme was suspended for much of the last year due to wide-ranging safety fears, it has been disclosed.

Following suspension of work at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield in Berkshire last July, when flooding increased the risk of fire at the plant, concerns about on-site safety became so acute that a decision was taken in the autumn to stop all live nuclear work on missile warheads.

Letters marked 'restricted', but released under the Freedom of Information Act, highlight the nuclear safety watchdog's concerns (the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII)) that deadlines for improving safety at the plant were not being met. 'NII is uncomfortable that some of the Burghfield shortfalls ... will not have been addressed by this time (September 2007),' one letter from the watchdog states.

Trident plant shut down in safety alert (The Observer, 25 May 2008)