The Nuclear Information Service has used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain an internal fire service report into a fire at Aldermaston last August. It criticised the plant’s capacity to deal with the emergency, saying there was poor communication, faulty fire hydrants, safety breaches and repeated confusion. The on-duty emergency controller was “overwhelmed by the demands of the incident and unable to effectively provide the information required”
The fire started when a solvent used in making explosives burst into flames. It burned for nearly nine hours overnight in a building containing explosives and it took 16 fire engines and 68 firefighters to put it out. They discovered explosives were involved only when they overheard a phone message. It was described by the chief executive as “a relatively small fire” to which the response had been “swift and effective“.
The Health and Safety Executive is investigating whether to take legal action against Aldermaston.
For more information, see http://nuclearinfo.org/home