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Nuclear Waste Disposal

Volume 115: debated on Thursday 7 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has made in the last year to NIREX about the relative effectiveness and economies of deep disposal of low-level waste as against shallow tunnel disposal.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the cost of the legal actions initiated by NIREX to obtain and sustain access to the four sites considered for the dumping of low-level nuclear waste.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from NIREX concerning his decision to stop exploratory work of shallow-trench disposal of nuclear waste.

My right hon. Friend has had no representations from NIREX since the letter of 30 April from the chairman.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total cost of the NIREX drilling and exploratory work on each of the four sites explored for the dumping of low-level nuclear waste.

NIREX estimate that £10 million has been spent on drilling and exploratory work at the four sites, and that a further £4 million may be incurred at the sites on winding up, cancellation and reinstatement work.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the total expenditure by (a) NIREX and (b) his Department in planning, considering, promoting and exploring shallow-trench disposal of low-level nuclear waste.

NIREX estimates that its total expenditure has been £17 million, with the possibility of a further £4 million yet to be incurred. Comparable details of the Department's costs are not readily available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the cost of NIREX publicity, consultation and public relations on (a) each of the four sites considered for low-level nuclear waste and (b) in general in relation to shallow-trench disposal.

NIREX estimate that £40,000 was spent at Bradwell, £310,000 at Elstow, and £200,000 at each of Fulbeck and South Killingholme. NIREX's total expenditure on publicity, consultation and public relations for shallow trench disposal has been £1·5 million.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the cost of the planning work done in his Department to assess the best practicable options for the disposal of nuclear waste.

The direct costs of the assessment of best practicable environmental options for the management of low and intermediate level solid radioactive wastes published in March 1986 was £200,000. But this built on earlier research on nuclear waste strategies funded by the Department since 1982, on which expenditure averaged £300,000 per year between 1982 and 1985.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the estimated costs of (a) shallow-trench disposal of low level nuclear waste on each of the four sites surveyed by NIREX and (b) deep disposal undersea methods; and if he will indicate any changes in these calculations between 1986 and 1987.

Information about the estimated costs of shallow burial low-level waste is given in the letter of 30 April from the chairman of NIREX to my right hon. Friend. Work is continuing on undersea disposal methods, and details of costings will be published in due course.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the costs of the preliminary desk and geological work done by (a) NIREX and (b) his Department before the choice of the four sites for exploration as possible sites for the storage of low-level nuclear waste.

NIREX estimate the cost of their preliminary work was £1 million. Comparable figures for the Department's costs are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will specify why the large cost differential between shallow-trench disposal and deep disposal of nuclear waste has disappeared.

This was set out by the chairman of NIREX in his letter of 30 April, a copy of which is in the Library.