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Plutonium

Volume 126: debated on Monday 1 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the United States Senate decision on the proposed arrangements (a) to airfreight plutonium to Japan and (b) to re-transfer United Kingdom plutonium to Japan en route from Sellafield, stopping off on United States' territory.

I understand that Congress has incorporated into United States law a clause requiring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in certifying the safety of containers used to transport plutonium by air across United States air space, to include a drop test of a full-scale container from the maximum cruising altitude and the crash of a cargo aircraft fully loaded with such containers, unless the commission is satisfied that the stresses on the containers produced by other tests exceed those which would occur during a worst case accident. Meanwhile the International Atomic Energy Agency is reviewing the international regulations to see whether any changes are required in this area.