HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 c464W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will itemise the contents of the B30 ponds at Sellafield; what the origin was of the contents; what the radioactivity level of the contents is; and what plans she has to respond to criticisms by the EU Commission in respect of the ponds that comprise B30. [165818]

Mr. Timms

[holding answer 19 April 2004]: The B30 facility at Sellafield was commissioned in 1959–60 for interim storage of spent Magnox fuel in water-filled concrete ponds and the subsequent removal of cladding from the fuel prior to it being reprocessed. The facility stopped receiving spent fuel during 1992. The B30 pond contains many tonnes of Magnox fuel and sludge from corrosion of the Magnox fuel cladding and the fuel. For security reasons it would not be appropriate to reveal itemised information on the quantities of nuclear material held in specific locations (Exemption 1, code of practice on access to Government information).

The condition of the material in B30 and the need to minimise radiation exposure means that the activities that can be performed at present to verify current quantities of material (including in the course Euratom safeguards inspections) are limited. Appropriate measurement and verification of the material will however take place as material is removed during the decommissioning of B30.

Officials will examine details of the Commission Directive and the basis for it, and work is in hand to enable us to respond to the Commission accordingly.

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