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EDITIONS
Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Nuclear weapon site may close
Aldermaston site, Berkshire
The AWE wants to transfer facilities to Aldermaston
One of the UK's main nuclear missile factories could close down as part of a massive overhaul by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

The AWE wants to transfer all work from the Burghfield site to its other Berkshire site in Aldermaston.

The AWE says the plan is part of a long-term strategy to concentrate all its operations at AWE Aldermaston.

The plans will now go before West Berkshire Council Planning Authority for approval.

The AWE site at Burghfield
The AWE wants to shed its secretive image

Bill Caine, the spokesperson for the AWE local liaison committee, and chair of Mortimer West End parish council said: "I think the people who live locally are far less concerned about it than the people who live 14 or15 miles away.

"We realise that they are a large employer in the area.

"If a lot of industries were regulated as tightly as this one I'd be a lot happier."

In what is seen as an attempt to shed its secretive image, the AWE says the information it has released is more than has ever been publicly available before.

The announcement comes two weeks after results of a study were released by scientists from Southampton University into possible contamination from the two sites.

The study found there were small amounts of radioactive contamination but they were not significant enough to be considered dangerous.


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