From concept, design and manufacture through to use and disposal, we use cutting edge technology to minimise safety and environmental impact.
Minimising product environmental impacts is increasingly important to our customers and regulators. Our products are built to be in active service for decades so we work continuously with our customers and suppliers to ensure that the innovative technology that we jointly develop continues to reduce our customers’ environmental impacts for many years to come.
Growing demand for lower-impact products is fuelled by concerns about rising energy costs and energy security. We support government strategies on sustainable procurement and work to enhance the environmental credentials of our products to support customer requirements.
A lifecycle approach
From designing submarines with better waste compacting systems to helping our customers make vehicles last longer, we work to reduce environmental impacts across the product lifecycle. Our Lifecycle Management Framework helps us identify and manage safety and environmental risks at every stage.
We train our engineers to incorporate environmental considerations right from the start when they design a product, develop a process or choose a part. Our process for calculating emissions associated with military hardware helps us understand and reduce the impacts of our products. We also aim to minimise use of hazardous materials.
Our approach to ‘design for recycling/reuse’ is appropriate to the types of product we make that are bespoke in nature and tend to have very long lifespans. Our product lifecycles can often be up to 50 years plus, including product design, manufacture, support and end of life disposal. During this time products will often be upgraded with technology and design features to ensure that the product incorporates cutting edge technology and benefits from latest design features. During production tranches and upgrades, the Company works to incorporate the latest developments in sustainability including new materials, design features or manufacturing processes to reduce the environmental impacts of our products and operations. At these stages we also address any changes to legislation that mean that materials or processes that were once acceptable to be used can no longer be used or address materials that have now been categorised as scarce material.
The Company sets out four principles that describe its approach to the safety of Products:
- Level of Safety;
- Conforming Products;
- Learning and Sharing Information.
These principles apply throughout the life of the Product and throughout the supply chain.
Certain responsibilities for the safety of our Products can continue well beyond the contractual life of most Projects. Adherence to well thought out Product Safety Management Systems reduces the risk of unintentional harm to people, property and the environment.
The level of safety required for each Product is achieved through the application of robust processes and the thoughtful and responsible attitudes and behaviours of many individuals who are alert to the safety implications of their actions whilst working within a Product Safety Management System.
Dealing with nuclear materials safely
The Astute class submarines we manufacture and the Successor class under development are powered by a nuclear reactor. The risk from all operations with nuclear materials undertaken at Barrow to the workforce, the general public, our customers and the environment is extremely low. We have a comprehensive programme in place to ensure employees are trained appropriately, suitably qualified and experienced at every level. This enables the company to ensure nuclear operations are conducted safely, nuclear materials are managed appropriately, and the submarines are very well engineered and safe products. Our operations are regularly inspected by independent third parties including national regulatory authorities to ensure our standards are maintained. See Managing Nuclear Materials.