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Nuclear Waste

Volume 126: debated on Monday 1 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what agreements exist for civil nuclear waste to be (a) taken into the United Kingdom from other countries and (b) taken to other countries from the United Kingdom; and how much waste has been moved under either of these two categories.

No radioactive waste separate from irradiated fuel is imported into the United Kingdom. Irradiated fuel is imported for reprocessing at British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) plant at Sellafield under contracts between BNFL and its customers.Since 1965, some 2,050 tonnes of uranium in the form of irradiated magnox fuel and 1,900 tonnes of uranium in the form of irradiated oxide fuel have been imported. The relatively small volume of radioactive waste derived has been stored at Sellafield prior to further treatment.Since 1976, BNFL's contracts for the reprocessing of overseas spent fuel have contained options for the return of wastes. The Government intend that these options should be exercised and that the wastes should be returned. No wastes have yet been returned to overseas customers pending the completion of waste treatment facilities at Sellafield.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what plans exist for returning (a) the nuclear wastes, (b) depleted uranium, and (c) plutonium arising from the reprocessing of the 140 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel owned by O.K.G. Aktiebolag of Sweden, currently stored at Sellafield;(2) if he will make a statement on current policy for the management of

(a) low, (b) intermediate and (c) high level wastes arising from contracts signed pre-1976 with O.K.G. Aktiebolag.

The arrangements for the disposal of all wastes arising from such contracts are set out in the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 2 May 1986, at columns 502–3. Any plutonium to be returned would be subject to the conditions specified in the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) to the then hon. Member for Walthamstow, Mr. Deakins, on 16 April 1985, at column 123. Similar arrangements would apply to any depleted uranium arising.