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Plutonium

Volume 76: debated on Monday 1 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to consult Parliament before authorising the use of plutonium as a fuel in nuclear power plants.

Plutonium is already in routine use in the prototype fast reactor at Dounreay and indeed a significant quantity of energy in all reactors derives from plutonium which is produced and consumed within the fuel during normal reactor operation.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what has happened to the plutonium derived at United Kingdom reprocessing plants from spent nuclear fuel imported from overseas; and if any plutonium exported has been confined to countries which have signed the non-proliferation treaty.

Some of this material is stored by British Nuclear Fuels plc, some has been exported to its country of origin and some to other countries where there is a requirement for its use. All exports have been for civil use and to countries, with the exception of France, a nuclear weapons state, which are signatories of the non-proliferation treaty. Shipments to France are subject to Euratom safeguards.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the figures on plutonium production in the Central Electricity Generating Board reactors which were supplied to Euratom for the years 1978 to 1984 under the 1977 Tripartite Agreement.

The tripartite (UK/EURATOM/IAEA) safeguards agreement does not require CEGB plutonium production figures to be reported.