Private Contractors To Support UK Nuclear Weapons Program

  • 12:00 AM, July 31, 2012
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In a first, the UK MoD has allowed the private sector to provide support to its nuclear weapons program. The MoD has signed a 15-year contract with ABL Alliance to provide support of the Trident Strategic Weapon System at the Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) Coulport and the Strategic Weapon Support Building (SWSB) Faslane. ABL Alliance is a consortium of AWE plc, Babcock and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems (LMUKSS) with AWE plc in the role of prime contractor. Since 2000, AWE plc has successfully run the Atomic Weapons Establishment under Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangements. “This new arrangement is a natural extension of their current role in supporting the nuclear warhead carried by our Trident missiles,” the MoD said. Under these arrangements 149 MOD civilian posts will transfer to ABL Alliance under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) Regulations (2006). In addition, 39 Royal Navy posts will be seconded to the alliance. "The MoD will continue to own the Naval Base sites, including Coulport, and Naval Base Commander Clyde will retain overall responsibility for security and for the activities carried out at Coulport and the SWSB. The site will also continue to be a MoD nuclear authorised site, so will be subject to regulation by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator, the Office of Nuclear Regulation and other regulatory bodies," the statement added. The new arrangement is scheduled to start in January 2013, subject to the successful completion of a protection of employment consultation.