HC Deb 05 March 1980 vol 980 cc208-9W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's proposals to transport plutonium nitrate from Dounreay to Windscale.

Mr. Norman Lamont

As part of the programme for the operation of the prototype fast reactor (PFR), the UKAEA propose to move plutonium nitrate recovered from irradiated PFR fuel by road and sea from Dounreay via the ports of Scrabster and Workington to Wind-scale, where it will be used to manufacture PFR fuel. The previous Administration asked the Health and Safety Commission to arrange for a study of the proposed operations as a whole.

The Health and Safety Executive has submitted its report and we have given it careful study. The HSE concluded that the proposed operations present risks substantially lower than those common in industrial operations, transport and everyday life and found no grounds associated with the health and safety for members of the public or workers for advising against them.

The Government are also satisfied that the security precautions proposed to be taken in connection with the movements will provide adequate physical protection for the shipments during their journey to Windscale.

In view of this, the Government are informing the authority that they are willing for the shipments to be made, subject to regulatory requirements for the despatch and receipt facilities being met before the first movement is made.

The HSE is publishing its report today. I have placed copies of it in the Library. As the report relates to a developing proposal, I have also placed in the Library copies of a note prepared by my Department in conjunction with other organisations concerned, including the HSE, to describe developments since the report was prepared. In the latter connection, I particularly draw attention to the fact that the design of the containers to be used for the movements has now been completed in compliance with the relevant international standards and has been approved by the Department of Transport.