The consortium that runs Britain’s nuclear weapons factory paid itself £70m of dividends last year despite huge delays and cost overruns on a key project. AWE Management paid the dividends to its shareholders — the giants Serco, Jacobs and Lockheed Martin — which have a long-term contract to run the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). AWE, which develops and builds the nuclear warheads that arm the navy’s Trident submarine fleet, came under fire from the government’s spending watchdog in May. The National Audit Office said an upgrade to AWE’s warhead assembly facility in Berkshire was six years late and costs had spiralled from £734m in 2011 to £1.8bn. AWE has also been at loggerheads with the nuclear safety watchdog, which, in July, prosecuted the company over an incident last year in which an electrician was injured. At a court hearing last week, AWE admitted failing to ensure the safety of its staff. It is due to be sentenced in November.
Sunday Times 23rd Sept 2018 read more »