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Nuclear Waste

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of the conclusion of both the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that the burying underground of nuclear waste carries an unacceptable risk, if he is satisfied with the usefulness and safety of this method in the United Kingdom.

As part of a long-term comprehensive research programme the Government are investigating the feasibility of disposing of high-level radioactive waste into geological formations on land. Other countries, including the United States of American and the Union of Soviet Socalist Republics, are conducting similar research.A judgment on the acceptability of underground disposal cannot be made until the results of the research are known and can be compared with the other options, which are also the subject of research.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what effect the proposed new nuclear power programme is likely to have on the problem of waste disposal; and whether research on a long-term solution to the problem remains a dominant factor in policy making in this field.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) on 24 January.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what grant-aid has been made available to academic institutions in Scotland regarding research into radioactive waste disposal, the related problems and planning procedures and inquiries and security processing; and if he will make a statement regarding future such aid.

One study has been made of the implications of the Windscale inquiry for planning procedures; this was carried out at Aberdeen university for the Social Sciences Research Council at a cost of £9,000. No grant-aid has been given to academic institutions in Scotland for research into radioactive waste disposal or related topics. The award of future research contracts in this field will depend on the scope of the project and the expertise and resources of potential contractors.