HC Deb 08 February 1988 vol 127 cc7-8
5. Mr. Alan W. Williams

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from local residents seeking the abandonment of the experiment being planned for 12 February at Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.

Mr. Peter Walker

I received a number of representations, from north Wales and elsewhere, expressing concern about the proposed test. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Central Electricity Generating Board has decided to postpone the test.

Mr. Williams

May I express my relief and delight that the CEGB has decided to postpone the test? However, is the Secretary of State aware of the concern felt by people in that area and all over Wales that the test could still take place and might be carried out in secret, as happened at Hinkley Point in 1965 and again in 1985? Will the Secretary of State seek assurances from the CEGB that the test will not take place — we want it cancelled rather than postponed — and that it will certainly not take place in secret?

Mr. Walker

I can certainly give an assurance that no such test will take place in secret.

Dr. Thomas

Has the Secretary of State brought his views on nuclear power with him from his previous incarnation?

Mr. Walker

Yes. I am aware of the concern and I am also well aware that no such test could take place without the full agreement of the independent Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, which would not agree unless it knew that the test was completely safe.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

If that is the case, why were the people of Cumbria not told that a similar test was to take place at Sellafield?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Unfortunately, that is not part of this question.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Is the Secretary of State not concerned that the decision to carry out this frightful experiment was made with no proper consultation with the fire service, teachers organisations or farmers unions? In view of the outrage generated, will he accede to the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Williams), who calls not for postponement, but for the cancellation of the experiment?

Mr. Walker

It may well be that the communications to those concerned about the nature of the test were not sufficient. Therefore, those who wished to put over wholly unfounded propaganda about the lack of safety and the nature of the test succeeded in doing so. I hope that before any such test takes place the CEGB will carefully communicate the basis of the test.

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