The old buildings used by the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) can be found on the Orford Ness peninsula in Orford, Suffolk County, England.
The Orford Ness peninsula was formerly used by the Ministry of Defence who conducted secret military tests at the site begining around 1915. The area was initially used as the test site for the Orford Ness Beacon, a long range radio navigation experiment in 1929. Orford Ness was also used as the site of the beginning experiments for the defence system radar.
In 1956 the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment set up operations in Orford Ness with the purpose of environmental testing that would mimic conditions that nuclear weapons and components could experience while in use. The pagoda styled buildings were used for these tests and were styled to absorb any possible explosion and cause any gases or hazardous air to ventilate out in a controlled manner. If there was a larger accident the roofs were designed to collapse down and seal the buildings with a cover of concrete. The Atomic Weapons Establishments closed in 1972.
The rest of the peninsula has been used interchangeably over the time of 1915 into the 1980’s for military use. The buildings are off limits but can be accessed through tours set up by the Orford Ness National Trust. Orford Ness is now a nature reserve for the fragile environment and the insect, plant and bird life in the area.
Where is the abandoned Atomic Weapons Research Facility in Orford Ness located? You can find it with these coordinates. 52.07886,1.554737.
All images used under Creative Commons License Attribution Non Commercial No Derivs 2.0 Generic. All images by Paul / Flickr / howzey.