§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the total accumulation of radioactive waste in each year since the military and civil nuclear power programme was initiated, giving separate estimates for (a) high level of liquid waste, (b) high level of solid waste, (c) medium active liquid waste, concentrates, sludges and resins, (d) low active plutonium contaminated waste (e) volatile and gaseous waste and (f) waste from decommissioning reactors and other plant.
§ Mr. Fox
[pursuant to his reply, 28 February 1980, c. 735]: It is not practicable to provide information about the arisings of radioactive waste in each year since the civil nuclear power programme was initiated. There has never been a military nuclear power programme.
At the end of 1979, the total accumulation of high level liquid waste was something less than 1,000 cu.m. at Windscale 616W from the reprocessing of power reactor fuel and 700 cu.m. at Dounreay from the reprocessing of fuel from experimentalreactors. In addition, approximately 9,000 cu.m. of high level solid waste and 3,500 cu.m. of plutonium contaminated waste are in store. The total accumulation at UKAEA and BNFL sites of medium level liquid wastes, concentrates, sludges and resins, wastes from decommissioning reactors and other plant, and other medium level wastes is about 11,000 cubic metres.
Something under 100 cu.m. of high level liquid waste, about 500 cu.m. high level solid waste, about 450 cu.m. of plutonium contaminated waste and about 250 cu.m. of the remaining category of wastes arise each year.
At the end of 1979 about 20,000 cu.m. of wastes were stored at civil nuclear power stations.
Gaseous radioactive waste products are discharged direct to atmosphere and are not stored. Some medium and low active wastes, including plutonium contaminated material and decommissioning wastes are disposed of by dumping at sea.
§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total amount spent on the evaluation of the longer-term hazard of radioactive waste disposal in geological formations in the United Kingdom; and how much of this expenditure relates to the evaluation of waste hazard analysis, long-term stability of conditioned waste, interaction of actinides with the environment and the monitoring of actinides.
§ Mr. Fox
[pursuant to his reply, 28 February 1980, c. 735–361]: The National Radiological Protection Board's programme to assess the radiological consequences of disposing of radioactive waste into geological formations has cost about £50,000 since 1977. Real expenditure on this project is likely to increase over the next few years. In the long term, assessments will depend upon the results of research into, amongst other things, the properties and characteristics of geological formations and the properties of the solidification medium and the containment materials.
Studies by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority on the long-term stability of radioactive waste are expected to 617W cost about £270,000 in the current financial year. Data on the distribution of actinides in the environment from all sources is collected regularly and there is no need for additional monitoring programmes specifically related to the geo- logical research programme.