HC Deb 11 May 1988 vol 133 cc163-4W
Mr. Darling

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Williams) 8 March,Official Report, Columns 27–28, what is the maximum velocity of impact that flasks carrying plutonium are expected to withstand under the most stringent current international standards.

Mr. David Mitchell

The International Atomic Energy Agency regulations require flasks to withstand a free drop of 9 m with a terminal velocity of 30 mph, on to any unyielding target. This is equivalent to an impact of about 65 mph on to hard rock or 75 mph on to concrete. The IAEA is currently reviewing these standards in relation to the transport of plutonium by air. In the meantime, British Nuclear Fuels plc is designing a flask to meet the United States regulatory criteria which involve an impact velocity of 288 mph.