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Plutonium

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether any consignments of plutonium exported for civil purposes from the United Kingdom have ever been re-transferred to a different state, without the prior knowledge of the United Kingdom Government.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what advantage would be gained by other countries if the total amount and isotopic composition of plutonium produced in all civil magnox reactors since commissioning were to be published.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Merionnydd and Nant Conwy (Mr. Thomas) on 25 January 1985 at column 545. I then gave the total of plutonium derived from these reactors except for the quantity consigned to the United States before 1971 under the United States-United Kingdom mutual defence agreement. The then United States Energy Secretary Mr. Hodel stated last year that this material has been used only for civil purposes. However, its quantity and isotopic composition cannot be revealed in view of its relationship to the quantity of highly enriched uranium received by the United Kingdom for defence purposes and in consequence the information could assist in calculations of the United Kingdom's defence potential.