Fire at nuclear weapons factory

An investigation's underway after a fire broke out at a Thames Valley base that makes and maintains nuclear weapons.

Homes had to be evacuated after the flames broke out at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston in Berkshire which maintains warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent.

Firefighters were called to a building in the non-nuclear explosives area at about 9pm on Tuesday 3 August 2010.  The AWE said there were "no radiological implications."

One member of staff received minor injuries and was treated by first aiders on the site.

An AWE spokesman said: "As a precautionary measure, a 600-metre cordon was set up around the building and a small number of local residents were evacuated overnight from their homes in the Red Lane area.

"A full investigation into the causes of the incident, which has no radiological implications, will be undertaken.  The Ministry of Defence and AWE's regulators have been informed."

The AWE's own fire and rescue crews were supported by firefighters from the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.