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AWE Aldermaston

Tue, 10/03/09 - 16:26 - researcher

United Kingdom
51° 21' 59.3064" N, 51° 21' 59.3064" E


Field Notes

AWE Aldermaston

Government run Atomic Weapons Establishment employing 4,500 staff and over 2,000 contractors, based near Reading. The facility deals with many aspects of science and technology related to defence, specifically maintaining warheads for trident, the UK's ballistic weapons system. Also declares interest in areas of hydrodynamics, plasmaphysics, supercomputing amongst other areas of science and engineering.

Extremely well known as a sensitive nuclear armaments site close to London which employs an enormous number of personnel, and is therefore heavily secured and patrolled with armed defence points. In addition to its capacity to build and maintain nuclear weapons and other armaments, the latest facility, Orion, is a £100m project that will develop world's most powerful laser, able to create for a fraction of a second the conditions found at the heart of a thermonuclear explosion. Approaching overtly is quite difficult as there are so many access points, and we do not recommend photographing gates unless you like soliciting trouble. As there are a number of sites and a lot of traffic over a wide area, it is best to park up and patrol on foot. Byelaws and security notices will give you additional information on rights. The adjacent business park is fascinating, and the plan reveals the division of buildings including Jupiter, Titan etc, each home to defence and scientific businesses that is reflective of the UK's reliance in the knowledge economy derived from sites like Aldermaston. Note on Science Parks; you may be entering onto private ground, and should therefore only openly take photographs from public areas.