To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what guidelines his Department has laid down to British Nuclear Fuels plc for contract work undertaken with companies based outside the United Kingdom in reprocessing in regard to British Nuclear Fuels retaining responsibility for plutonium separated in the reprocessing; and if he will list the respects in which the guidelines differ from International Atomic Energy Agency and non-proliferation treaty safeguards.
§ Mr. Baldry
The return of plutonium arising from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel by British Nuclear Fuels plc to its country of origin or to any other destination is made only subject to application of safeguards and on receipt of assurances covering peaceful use, physical protection and controls on re-transfer. The guidelines for returning this material remain as set out in the statement by the then Foreign Secretary, now Lord Callaghan, on 31 March 1976 at columns514–16, which has been reaffirmed by the Prime Minister. These guidelines ensure that the return of such plutonium is fully consistent with our international non-proliferation obligations under the non-proliferation treaty.