Nuclear weapons client plans £900m framework

The Ministry of Defence’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is looking to speak to suppliers as it shapes multibillion-pound infrastructure plans.

The body, which is responsible for the UK’s nuclear weapons, has issued a prior information notice (PIN) for its Future Infrastructure Programme – which covers new office accommodation, laboratories, testing facilities, site services, and advanced manufacturing facilities.

It is looking to set up a 10-year framework, worth up to £900m, as part of a strategy to increase its capability and testing facilities and for its non-nuclear portfolio, the PIN states.

The programme is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Facilities at AWE’s Aldermaston site near Reading, Berkshire, are undergoing major changes as part of the UK’s renewal of its nuclear deterrent. AWE is responsible for disassembly and assembly of Trident nuclear missile warheads, among other tasks.

The body will create a client partnership to act as a capable owner and trusted government partner to plan and design the investment portfolio, while also providing effective oversight of delivery partners for time, cost and quality, according to the PIN.

AWE says it wants to work with existing partners and also those from outside the nuclear industry, whose technical expertise may transfer to the sector.

The notice adds that companies are being sought in three main areas: engineering design and project assurance services; programme and project management services; and productivity services.

AWE also has a separate Future Material Campus infrastructure programme that focuses on manufacturing and storage capability for nuclear materials and increasing capability for material recovery.

Suppliers are asked to register an interest in taking part in the engagement before 4pm on 17 May.

The client will carry out security assessments of those asking to take part. Any linked to a “hostile entity or foreign state” deemed unreliable or hostile to the UK’s national interests will be barred.

More information about taking part can be found in the PIN.

In April 2021, Mace was appointed alongside specialist engineering firms BakerHicks, a Morgan Sindall subsidiary, and DBD International to an early phase of AWE’s infrastructure development programme.

The initial phase of work was planned to focus on concept designs and supporting evidence to refine the construction strategy.

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