HC Deb 25 March 1980 vol 981 cc554-5W
Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the volume of waste stored at nuclear power stations, including highly active solid wastes, sludges, miscellaneous wastes and plutonium contaminated wastes: and if he will indicate the levels for each year since 1962.

Mr. Fox

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980, c. 76]: The total volume of wastes stored at civil nuclear power stations at the end of 1979 was given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Energy m his reply to a question by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Foulkes) on 17 January 1980. —[Vol. 976, c. 829–30.]

I understand that the Central Electricity Generating Board has not maintained year-by-year records of wastes held at civil nuclear power stations and figures for individual years are not therefore available.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total expenditure on research in the United Kingdom on FINGAL/HARVEST vitrification process for incorporating waste into cylindrical glass blocks.

Mr. Fox

[pursuant to his reply, 17 March 1980, c. 74]: Work on methods of vitrifying high level radioactive wastes began on a small scale in 1955, reaching a significant level in the 1960s when the FINGAL engineering concept was developed. Research and development costs specific to the FINGAL radio active pilot plant trials at Harwell were:

1962–63 £30,000
1963–64 £60,000
1964–65 £55,000
1965–66 £65,000

In addition, the capital cost of the pilot plant was £100,000. Bench scale research continued until 1973. At that time British Nuclear Fuels Limited developed the HARVEST process which was based on the earlier concept. In addition to BNFL,'s expenditure on its own programme, the Atomic Energy Authority has carried out supporting research related to HARVEST which has cost the Exchequer:

£ million
Pre-March 1978 1.2
1978–79 0.6
1979–80 0.5

All the above sums are expressed in terms of the money values of the time.

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