HC Deb 12 December 1988 vol 143 cc636-7
16. Mr. Kirkwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the latest estimate of the cost to the electricity supply industry of disposing of nuclear waste to the year 2000.

19. Mr. Macdonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how much nuclear waste disposal will cost after the privatisation of electricity; and who will pay for it.

Mr. Michael Spicer

Provisions by the electricity supply industry in England and Wales for dealing with nuclear waste total over £3 billion. After privatisation as now, these costs will be charged to customers in their electricity prices.

Mr. Kirkwood

What evidence does the Minister have that the £3 billion that he has just announced will be enough? Is he aware that there is widespread worry, in the industry and outside it, that that figure will not come anywhere near to meeting the task of effecting safe disposal?

Mr. Spicer

Had the hon. Gentleman been here earlier, he would have heard my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State say that the provisions are made on an audited basis by experts in the industry. We have every confidence in the provisions that have been made for decommissioning.

Mr. Madden

Does the Minister recollect ever receiving letters from the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) or from any other Members of Parliament asking that nuclear waste be dumped in their constituencies or that nuclear power stations be built there?

Mr. Spicer

Clearly, no right hon. or hon. Member would particularly wish to write asking that nuclear waste be deposited in his constituency. That is why Nirex has undertaken a nationwide survey and why we, and Nirex in particular, have not agreed to exempt any area. That would be invidious. The answer is that we shall find suitable storage for nuclear waste.