HC Deb 31 January 1995 vol 253 cc565-6W
Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantities of defence nuclear material are stored in south Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames

The only nuclear material stored in south Wales is depleted uranium at the atomic weapons establishment, Cardiff.

Although it has not been the practice of this or previous Governments to reveal quantities of nuclear material stored at the AWE sites, in accordance with our policy of greater openness, my Department is seeking to revoke this restriction in respect of depleted uranium.

Details of the depleted uranium wastes arising at and discharged from AWE Cardiff are already in the public domain.

Mr. Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 January, to the hon. Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Mr Butler),Official Report, column 751, what are the principal details of the decision-making process relating to the decommissioning and subsequent 'disposal of the site of the atomic weapons establishment, Llanishen, Cardiff; what consultations he has had with the management of the Atomic Weapons Establishment in relation to this decision; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman

We are prepared to consider any proposal for the future use of the AWE Cardiff site. If no such acceptable proposal is received, and if there is no alternative defence use which arises in the period before then, the site will close in 1997 as soon as work on Trident components is completed. These proposals have been developed in close consultation between Hunting-BRAE Ltd. and the MOD.

The Ministry of Defence will then be responsible for the immediate decommissioning of the site and it will be disposed of in the normal way.

There is no statutory requirement fully to restore land offered for sale, but it is my Department's policy to seek to identify instances of contamination on sites allocated for disposal. This information is made available to prospective purchasers and taken into account in agreeing the sale price. Decontamination work is generally limited to the removal of ordnance and other contaminants such as explosives, radioactive and microbiological materials.

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