To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has concerning the behaviour of spent fuel and storage facility components during long-term storage programmes co-ordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency; what information and assistance has been afforded to the BEFAST II secretariat; and what benefits to the medium and long-term financial planning of Nuclear Electric and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority spent fuel management programmes will accrue from the BEFAST II programme.
§ Mr. Baldry
The International Atomic Energy Agency's BEFAST II programme has studied three major aspects of spent fuel storage: long-term behaviour of spent fuel in wet and dry storage; surveillance mechanisms; and the handling and transport of spent fuel after storage. The programme will not be completed until 1991.
Nuclear Electric and British Nuclear Fuels have participated in the programme and have played a key part in the working groups set up to study the problems and prepare reports. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is not directly involved. However, participation in the BEFAST II programme provides access to worldwide experience of the storage of spent oxide fuel and to related R and D activity. The knowledge acquired through this participation, supplementing the United Kingdom's own domestic expertise, should allow the longer-term spent fuel storage requirements of the United Kingdom's continuing nuclear power programme, including the Sizewell B PWR station, to be met in the most cost-effective manner.