HC Deb 27 February 1989 vol 148 cc9-10
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.

Mr. Jack

Will my hon. Friend join in congratulating the workers of British Nuclear Fuels' Springfields division in my constituency on their contribution to improved productivity, which contributed to our nuclear industry's remarkable export perfonnance?

Mr. Spicer

Yes, gladly.