HC Deb 23 March 2001 vol 365 cc420-1W
Kali Mountford

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a

statement on the Government's policy on contacts between UK nuclear industry personnel and nationals of India and Pakistan. [155731]

Mr. Wilson

Our policy on contacts with India and Pakistan on nuclear issues is set out[...] in a statement to Parliament by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Central (Mr. Lloyd) on 10 July 1998, Official Report, columns 687–88W. However, where contact between UK nuclear scientists and nuclear industry personnel and Indian and Pakistani individuals is judged not to be of proliferation concern, we will, on a case-bycase basis, consider making an exception to the policy.

We have decided to make such an exception for an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) research co-ordination meeting on nuclear reactor decommissioning which, following a request by the IAEA, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL) have agreed to host. Participants from several countries, including India and Pakistan, will be invited to attend the meeting, to be held in the United Kingdom in May 2001. In view of our policy we were consulted by BNFL on the IAEA proposal. We firmly support the work of the IAEA and the safe decommissioning of nuclear reactors and judge that the meeting will not in any way assist the development of weapons of mass destruction. We will continue to consider future cases individually.