§ 10. Miss Widdecombe
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the value of the overseas earnings of British Nuclear Fuels plc for the last year for which figures are available.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
British Nuclear Fuels' overseas earnings in the financial year 1987–88 were £134 million. Reprocessing contracts have been signed totalling £2.77 billion.
§ Miss Widdecombe
Does my hon. Friend agree that that is not only excellent news for the industry but makes a substantial contribution to our balance of payments?
§ Mr. Spicer
Yes, BNF's overseas earnings make a substantial contribution, and will increasingly do so. BNF will be one of Britain's biggest yen earners, having already contracted business worth more than 500 billion yen or £2.5 billion.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Will the Minister give an assurance that, when contracts are finalised with the Japanese Government and other Governments, they will include a provision that waste will always be returned to the country of origin, and that it will not in future be buried in the so-called offshore dump for nuclear waste that is to be built off the west coast of Cumbria when Nirex has managed to fix the inquiry? We support the nuclear industry, but do not accept that we should take everybody's nuclear waste in the future.
§ Mr. Spicer
No decision has yet been made about where nuclear waste will be buried, if it is buried. I gibe the hon. Gentleman the assurance he seeks; since 1976 all contracts for overseas earnings include an option providing for the repatriation of the waste, and those options will be exercised.