HL Deb 27 April 1998 vol 589 cc6-7WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Clinton-Davis on 14 January (WA 202), what decision they have come to since then regarding the future of the radioactive debris in the Dounreay shaft. [HL1551]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury)

On 31 March my honourable friend the Minister for Science, Energy and Industry announced the Government's acceptance of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's recommendation that the radioactive waste in the Dounreay intermediate level waste shaft should be retrieved for treatment and storage.

This decision was taken following detailed engineering studies completed recently by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, which operates the Dounreay site, which have shown that it is now technically feasible to recover waste from the shaft in a safe and environmentally acceptable manner. It demonstrates the Government's commitment to caring for the environment and taking action to deal with the difficult legacies of the past. The difficult task of retrieving this waste will demonstrate that the UK is taking a world lead when dealing with nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste challenges. The most recent estimates presented to the Government by the UKAEA suggest the total indicative costs may lie in the range of £215 million to £355 million. These costs, which are already budgeted for, will be incurred over approximately the next 25 years and will be met from public funds.