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Plutonium (Transport)

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if any studies have been conducted by his Department into the environmental contamination implications of an aeroplane carrying plutonium canisters to or from Dounreay nuclear power development establishment crashing into the sea between Caithness and the Orkneys.

The evidence submitted by British Nuclear Fuels to the European demonstration reprocessing plant (EDRP) inquiry at Dounreay showed that in the event of an air crash in the sea there would be no release of radioactivity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many voyages take place each month of ships transporting plutonium from or to the Dounreay nuclear power development establishment via the Minches to or from British Nuclear Fuels plc's Sellafield site.

These movements are in full compliance with national regulations based on the recommendations of the International Maritime Organisation, which do not depend for their effectiveness on a particular route, and do not require individual authorisation. I understand that since the start of this traffic in June 1981 there have been 21 movements of plutonium nitrate from Dounreay to Sellafield, the

(a) Expenditure on maintenance1of national roads 1979–80 to 1987–88
(£ million cash)
East Midlands151121302734313632
North West91521323334293545
South East7718202331344054
South West101315201621172422
West Midlands112331272827153228
Yorkshire and Humberside71020252427172745
Total for England821041571931792121822253282
Northern Ireland4363843404850565556
Total for United Kingdom144170250277280313307378410
1 Maintenance covers structural, routine and winter maintenance of the carriageway (excluding bridges), both capital and current. (A different capital/current distinction applies to local roads expenditure).
2 Provisional outturn.
3 Estimated outturns.
4 All roads in Northern Ireland.
(b)Expenditure on maintenance1of local roads 1979–80 to 1987–88
(£ million cash)
East Midlands727276798288

discharged flasks being returned to Dounreay by the same route. Certain categories of waste are also transported from Sellafield to Dounreay by sea.