HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc1054-6W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people live within the recommended safe distance from nuclear power plants in the UK. [25251]

Mr. Wilson

There is no official recommendation relating to safe distances at which to live from nuclear power plants. All operators of civil nuclear installations in the UK are required to have emergency plans, as a condition of their site licences. These plans include a Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) around each site, defined in relation to the potential release of radiation from a reasonably foreseeable accident. The operators of UK civil nuclear power station sites have estimated that a total of 4,030 people are permanently resident within these DEPZs.

Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the potential future liabilities that the Government will incur owing to decommissioning in the nuclear industry; and if she will make a statement. [28920]

Mr. Wilson

At 31 March 2001 public sector civil nuclear liabilities—i.e. those liabilities for which UKAEA and BNFL are responsible—were estimated to be over £42 billion. Liabilities estimates are reviewed annually by UKAEA and BNFL. Information is published in their annual reports and accounts.

In her statement to the House on 28 November, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry outlined the nature the Government's plans for improving management arrangements and ensuring that the nuclear legacy is dealt with safely, efficiently and cost effectively. A White Paper will be published in the spring

Mr. Stunell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total level of Government financial support to the nuclear industry was in each year between 1980 and 1990, broken down by(a) research grants, (b) non-fossil fuel levy, (c) investment in BNFL facilities, (d) running costs of UKAEA and Ninex and (e) other sources. [27455]

Mr. Wilson

Funding to the UK nuclear industry in this period was provided primarily in the form of grant and grant in aid to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). The funding enabled UKAEA to undertake civil nuclear research programmes and to discharge liabilities arising from past programmes.

The sums provided were as follows:

£ million
Grant, and grant in aid
1980–81 158
1981–82 164
1982–83 215
1983–84 204
1984–85 196
1985–86 169
1986–87 163
1987–88 148
1988–89 247
1989–90 196


Figures are taken from Government Expenditure Plans Reports, which until 1991 did not list separate funding for fusion.

The non fossil fuel obligation and fossil fuel levy were first put in place in 1990 and therefore did not exist in the period in question. BNFL, like other companies, made various applications for and received funding under the first of the Government's Regional Development Grants schemes (RDG I) established under the Industry Act 1972 and the Industrial Development Act 1982. This scheme ended in 1984 and was replaced by a successor scheme (RDG II). BNFL did not receive any payments under the RDG II scheme. The Government's and BNFL's records relating to grants paid to BNFL under the RDG I scheme are no longer available.

Government grants were reported in the source and application of funds statement (which, in accordance with the accounting conventions of the time, did not necessarily disclose actual cash flows) in BNFL's annual report and accounts as follows:

£ million
1980–81 24.5
1981–82 30.6
1982–83 36.4
1983–84 40.7
1984–85 32.1

£ million
1985–86 18.5
1986–87 1
1987–88 Nil
1988–89 Nil
1989–90 Nil

The costs of UK NIREX were met by subscriptions from its members (UKAEA, the Central Electricity Generating Board, South of Scotland Electricity Board and BNFL.

Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the status of the dismantling and decommissioning programme for the Windscale Number One Pile at Sellafield. [28522]

Mr. Wilson

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 20 November 2001,Official Report, column 168W.