§ 8. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many incidents at nuclear installations have been reported to his Department since 1977.
§ Mr. John Moore
Under the stringent reporting system introduced in 1977, 257 incidents have been reported to my Department. None were serious incidents as defined in the Nuclear Installations (Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 1965 and none has given rise to any significant health hazard to employees of the plant or the general public.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the safety record of the British civil nuclear power programme compares favourably with that of any other nuclear power programme and is even better than the record of our own oil, gas and coal industries?
§ Mr. Moore
Our safety record compares more than favourably with that of any other major industry and with that of any other country. Three weeks ago, on the Channel 4 programme "The Friday Alternative", the work force at Sizewell A was interviewed and was quite bemused by all the horror stories about supposed scares on safety. The men said that their most difficult time was the journey to and from the nuclear plant.
§ Mr. Warren
I welcome my hon. Friend's statistics about safety standards in the British industry. Will he assure us that he keeps a watchful eye on the considerable number of incidents at the Cap de la Hague plant in northern France, which often bring pollutants towards the south coast of England and cause us considerable worry?
§ Mr. Moore
I am very conscious of that point. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary plans to announce quite soon a formal agreement concerning exchanges of information in the event of an emergency in France or the United Kingdom. I hope that it will be signed shortly.