We regulate activities at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston and Burghfield. These are licensed sites providing and maintaining the warheads for the UK's nuclear deterrent on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). On 1 July 2021, AWE plc (AWE) became an arm’s length Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) wholly owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), working in close collaboration with the Defence Nuclear Organisation (DNO).
The MOD owns the AWE sites, including the assets and liabilities. AWE is responsible under a contract with the MOD for operating the sites safely and securely as well as delivering a safe, effective and efficient nuclear warhead programme. AWE employs the workforce, holds the nuclear site licences, environmental permits and other regulatory permissions.
Our role does not extend to regulating the design of warhead, as laid down in the Atomic Weapons Establishment Act 1991 (as amended). This is dealt with by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR), a regulatory body within the Defence Safety Authority. We work closely with DNSR to ensure effective and efficient regulation of the Aldermaston and Burghfield sites.