HC Deb 10 June 1998 vol 313 cc597-8W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what new proposals she has to improve transparency in respect of the health risks arising from nuclear power stations. [43511]

Mr. Battle

None. Existing arrangements already provide for a high degree of public openness about health, safety and environmental issues associated with the UK civil nuclear industry.

Nuclear operators publish annual reports which provide detailed information about both the environmental and the health and safety considerations associated with their activities. Those bodies responsible for the regulation of the civil nuclear industry, including the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the National Radiological Protection Board, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, also publish detailed annual reports. Where they believe there to be a matter of particular public interest to be addressed, regulators also published reports covering specific regulatory issues.

Independent expert consideration of the potential implications of the civil nuclear industry for public health is further provided for through the existence of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). COMARE was established by the Government in 1985 with a remit to investigate and advise on the health effects of both natural and man-made radiation and on the need for further research in this area. COMARE has undertaken investigations into the incidence of cancers in the vicinity of a number of UK nuclear installations and in each case has published a detailed report setting out its findings.

For safety and environmental issues associated with the UK civil nuclear industry, independent expert scrutiny is provided for through the existence of two advisory committees, the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (RWMAC). NuSAC publishes a biennial report setting out details of the work of the committee and its sub groups and of its future programme of work. RWMAC publishes a similar report on an annual basis.