HL Deb 26 July 1979 vol 401 cc2144-5WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What contingency plans exist to cope with a derailment or collision affecting trains carrying radio-active waste from nuclear power stations to Windscale; what would be the probable consequences if such an accident occurred in the thickly-populated parts of London, through which the trains pass; and what consultations have recently been held with local emergency services, especially in London.


Irradiated nuclear fuel is transported from power stations to Windscale in accordance with very high safety standards laid down in international regulations. These regulations require the massive flasks used to meet the specified performance standards which would enable them to withstand severe impact and fire conditions. A derailment or collision of a train carrying such a fuel flask in a thickly populated part of London would thus not put public safety at risk.

Nevertheless, there are detailed plans to cater for the unlikely event of an accident. These plans, which have existed for many years, are nationally applicable and are rehearsed and kept under constant review. Each rehearsal involves the emergency services in the area concerned, who are subsequently consulted about the lessons to be learned from the exercise and about any needs which may emerge to modify the national plans.