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Nuclear Waste

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 19 February 1980

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asked the Minister of Transport what is the maximum speed permitted for trains transporting nuclear waste.

The speed or trains is governed by operating conditions, and is a matter for the Railways Board. I am informed that whilst a maximum of 60 m.p.h. can be permissible for these trains, normally their speed is around 45 m.p.h.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will specify the contents of the nuclear fuel flasks transported regularly through Stoke-on-Trent.

These flasks contain nuclear fuel elements which have been irradiated in a nuclear reactor and are transported to Windscale for reprocessing.

asked the Minister of Transport what impact tests have been conducted by his Department on containers of irradiated fuel elements transport by rail.

Under the international regulations operative in this country it is the responsibility of the applicant seeking flask design approval from my Department to present evidence that the design complies, among other things, with the impact test standard which is specified by the regulations.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) if he will list in the Official Report those cities through which nuclear waste is regularly transported by rail.(2) why trains carrying nuclear waste were re-routed so that they pass through Stoke-on-Trent.

The routeing of trains is an operational matter for the British Railways Board. Although I obtain information from them about routeing of irradiated nuclear fuel in response to hon. Members particular requests, it would not be appropriate for me to collect and maintain a list of every city through which such material is carried. I am informed that the re-routeing of trains carrying irradiated nuclear fuel through Stoke-on-Trent followed a periodic review of rail freight services with a view to achieving more economical working.