HC Deb 19 December 1991 vol 201 cc243-4W
Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the forms of assistance being provided by the British nuclear electricity industry via the World Association of Nuclear Operators for safety improvements, repairs and training at the Kozlodny nuclear power station in Bulgaria; how this aid is co-ordinated with the technical and financial assistance being arranged for Bulgaria by the G-24 group of nations; and when and under what conditions he expects Kozlodny to meet WANO safety standards.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

In response to recommendations from the G7 London summit in July 1991, the G24 group of countries has recently agreed procedures for co-ordinating the programmes of nuclear safety assistance which are being provided to central and eastern Europe by individual member countries and international organisations. The overall objective of the G24 assistance is to help the countries of central and eastern Europe to exercise their responsibilities in nuclear safety in an informed and effective manner in conformity with best international practice. The EC emergency assistance programme for Bulgaria will now fit within this co-ordination framework.

The World Association of Nuclear Operators is managing two aspects of the emergency programme of nuclear safety assistance to Bulgaria financed under the European Community's regional PHARE programme for 1991. These comprise urgent "housekeeping" measures to improve the physical condition of the older VVER 230 units at Kozloduy nuclear power plant and ensure the effective operation of safety systems, and a twinning programme under which western operators are providing guidance on operational safety improvements. In addition WANO is overseeing a six-month programme of generic design safety studies on the VVER 230.

An engineer from Scottish Nuclear is a member of the "housekeeping" team. Nuclear Electric has provided a quality assurance expert to assist in the implementation of the six-month programme and expects to send two more experts to Kozloduy in the new year. The United Kingdom nuclear industry is bidding for contracts under the six-month programme. The United Kingdom Government have also provided two experts to assist the European Commission with overall supervision of its programme of assistance.

Under the same emergency programme a consortium of EC safety authorities is undertaking safety analysis of the Kozloduy reactors and providing assistance to the Bulgarian regulatory authority. The UKAEA and the nuclear installations inspectorate are members of this consortium.

Decisions on further action to be taken to improve the safety of the reactors are the responsibility of the Bulgarian Government.

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