HC Deb 02 February 1977 vol 925 cc209-10W
Mr. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement as to the arrangements he proposes for keeping the public informed of incidents affecting safety at nuclear installations.

Mr. Benn

Licensees of nuclear installations are required by the Nuclear Installations (Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 1965 to report immediately to the Health and Safety Executive the following occurrences: (a) any release of radioactivity or toxic substances causing or likely to cause death or serious injury; (b) any uncontrolled criticality excursion; (c) any explosion or fire likely to affect safety; (d) any occurrence during the transport of nuclear matter which is likely to cause death or injury from radioactivity, or the breaking open of a container of nuclear matter.

They are also required by licence conditions to report incidents involving exposure to radiation above prescribed limits and whenever inspection or testing reveals that the safe operation and condition of plant may be affected. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have made arrangements with the Health and Safety Executive to be informed of such occurrences, and also to be told of certain occurrences of lesser significance. We propose to inform Parliament at once of any occurrence reported under the Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. More generally we have arranged for a quarterly statement to be published by the Health and Safety Executive, covering all the occurrences reported to us under the arrangements referred to. Besides numerical information, this statement would give short particulars and an assessment of any occurrences that were of significance for safety. Similar arrangements will be made for the reporting of occurrences on AEA sites. These will be covered in the quarterly statement.

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