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Chapelcross Power Station

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has in relation to the design of Chapelcross power station as it relates to the potential danger from earth tremors; what representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the replies given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy, the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad), to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) on 18 March 1986, which dealt with this issue in detail. My right hon. and learned Friend has had no representations about this matter.

Is the Under-Secretary aware that in 1983 a report from structural engineers to British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. said that Chapelcross, one of the oldest power stations in the United Kingdom, was vulnerable to relatively minor earth tremors and should be closed down? Will he confirm that the reason why nothing was done about that was that Chapelcross produces tritium for British, and, perhaps, American warheads and bombs? If the hon. Gentleman believes what his colleagues say, that Britain is far more open and honest on this issue than the Soviet Union, will he agree to publish all the documents relating to safety at Chapelcross?

Once again the hon. Gentleman is trying to create scares with no foundation. I remind him of what my hon. Friend said in the answer to which I referred. He explained that he was

"advised by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate that the seismic structural assessments carried out by the BNFL for the Calder Hall and Chapelcross reactor demonstrate that the reactor could be safely shut down and maintained in a safe condition following an earthquake with a peak field horizontal acceleration of 0·11g although some damage to non-essential service buildings would occur".—[Official Report, 18 March 1986; Vol. 94, c. 124.]
The NII has required the operators of Magnox stations to carry out a long-term safety review at about 20 years' operating life to confirm that they are safe for continued operation, to identify any factors which may limit the safe operation of the plant and to assess safety standards to determine whether any improvements are appropriate. The conclusion of these reviews will in future be published.