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Nuclear Power Stations

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 6 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, in connection with the Government's new nuclear power station programme, he will make a statement as to how he proposes to ensure the fullest possible participation in major new decisions.

I have already made it clear in my statement of 18 December 1979 that, so far as the first PWR station is concerned, there will be an inquiry in due course. No decisions have been made on precisely what type of inquiry should be established, but it is my view that the fullest explanations and the fullest discussion should inform the inquiry.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, even where full planning consent becomes available for the construction of new nuclear power stations, he will take steps to ensure that, at Government expense, the county authorities retain the services and advice of an independent nuclear expert during construction, with adequate site access, and that seminars are organised at an early stage to improve local knowledge and minimise apprehensions.

This is a matter for county authorities. The independent Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive has responsibility for the inspection and enforcement of nuclear safety standards, and the National Radiological Protection Board for advice on radiological protection. I understand that it is the practice of the CEGB to engage in wide local consultations in connection with any proposal to build a power station.