§ Sir Frederick Burden
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the fact that last year 17 out of 32 key workers at Chatham dockyard responsible for such tasks as stripping the shielding from submarines' nuclear reactors received radiation in excess of the three rem limit soon to be imposed by the international radiological protection rules, how many workers in addition to those already employed on this work at Devonport will be required when the three stream nuclear refuelling and refit facility is in full use there in order to ensure that they are not exposed to more than the new three rem limit.
§ Mr. Blaker
The dockyards work in accordance with the current recommendation of the International Commission on Radiological Protection that the maximum annual radiation dosage should not exceed 5 rems, subject to certain safeguards.
During the year ending December 1980, 14 out of a total of 32 classified boilermakers received dosages greater than 3 rems but none received 5 rems or more.
Comprehensive new regulations have been under consideration for some time and will be issued in due course by the Health and Safety Commission.
These regulations may lower the limit and will of course be implemented. The annual dosages arising from the future three-stream programme at Devonport are expected to reflect the very much lower radiation levels that exist in our more modern submarines and the reducing levels now being achieved in our older boats.
The number of classified workers will increase at Devonport because of the greater programme of work. None of the increase is attributable to radiological safety standards.