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Hazardous Substances

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Gordon, Official Report, 11 May, column 240, when discharges of liquid sodium metal or other occurrences with potential safety implications ceased to be operational matters for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority; and at what point his Department assumes responsibility.

[holding answer 23 May 1990]: The safe operation of the civil nuclear installation at Dounreay is a matter for the operator, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, at all times.Details of incidents at such establishments having significance or potential significance for the health and safety of the work force or the general public, are provided by the operator to the Health and Safety Executive and to interested Departments and their respective Ministers. This is done in accordance with the incident reporting criteria set out in the statement made in this House on 30 April 1987 by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy, the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad).In the event of an incident in Scotland with potential off-site consequences there are comprehensive plans available which would be invoked if necessary. Within those general arrangements the Scottish Office would become the lead Department.There was no danger to either the work force or to the general public from the incident at Dounreay on 24 April.