Skip to main content

Magnox Reprocessing Plant, Sellafield

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether agreement has been reached on the introduction of an inspection regime by Euratom of the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield; and if he will make a statement about the reprocessing of civil and non-civil spent fuel in the plant.

Euratom safeguards inspectors have had access to all areas at Sellafield except the mixed civil/non-civil areas, because of the presence of non-civil material which has been co-processed with civil material.Consultations on an inspection regime to cover the mixed areas have now been completed. Following meetings between Euratom, United Kingdom officials and BNFL, agreement has now been reached with Euratom to commence inspection on a routine basis of the civil material in the mixed Magnox reprocessing plant and associated process areas of the Sellafield site. The Government welcome the agreement enabling the inspectorate to verify all the civil material at Sellafield.The co-processing of civil and non-civil material will phase out during 1986 and thereafter separate civil and non-civil reprocessing operations will be carried out sequentially, rather than simultaneously. During the transitional period Euratom will be enabled to verify the flows and inventories of the civil material.Basic technical characteristics of plants involved have been provided to Euratom and its inspectors have visited the plant to verify that the data are correct. Euratom inspectors were also present at the plant at the end of March 1986 when the latest verification of stocks of civil nuclear material took place.The safeguards procedures to he followed will meet the requirements of the treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community. They include:

(a) the keeping of records of the flow and stocks of civil nuclear material;
(b) the provision of monthly accountancy reports to Euratom;
(c) Inspector access to the records and to the civil nuclear material to verify the opening and closing physical holdings and all inventory changes to verify that there has been no net gain to the non-civil cycle in either quantity or quality. These verifications procedures will include the application of non-destructive measurement techniques and the taking of samples for analysis including the determination of the isotopic composition of the nuclear material.
Euratom inspectors will have access to all civil material at Sellafield on a continuing basis.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East, Mr Deakins, Official Report, column 292, of 5 December 1985, he will (a) make an estimate of the cost of implementation of the full separation of civil and military facilities and activities at Sellafield and (b) state what proportions of the annual United Kingdom payment to the International Atomic Energy Agency such a safeguards system would require.

[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend has given today to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and the Border (Mr. Maclean) in which he announced the agreement with Euratom of an inspection regime to cover the mixed civil-military areas at Sellafield. The co-processing of civil and defence material will phase out during 1986, and thereafter separate civil and defence operations will be carried out sequentially rather than simultaneously. The costs of the new inspection regime will be met by Euratom, which is funded from the European Community's resources.