The company that runs Britain’s atomic bomb factory paid out £82m in dividends last year despite budget blow-ups and delays. The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire, is run by AWE Management Ltd under a 25-year deal. It is responsible for researching and developing the nuclear warheads that arm Britain’s four Vanguard submarines. AWE Management paid the dividend to shareholders Lockheed Martin, Serco and Jacobs in 2018. Payouts increased from £70m a year earlier, after pre-tax profits rose 15% to £101.4m. The company has run AWE since 2000 under a lucrative contract, and employs 5,250 staff. It is run by former Network Rail boss Iain Coucher. Its highest-paid director, believed to be Coucher, received £1m. The National Audit Office said last year that projects to upgrade the facilities were in trouble. Pegasus, a £634m plan to replace a tired building that handles and stores enriched uranium, has been suspended. Mensa, a facility being built at a nearby AWE site at Burghfield to assemble and dismantle nuclear warheads, has ballooned in cost from £734m to £1.8bn. It was due to open in 2017 but that has been delayed to 2023.
Times 29th Sept 2019 read more »