Skip to main content


Volume 204: debated on Friday 28 February 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen), Official Report, 24 February, column 674, on the thermal oxide reprocessing plant, he will set out (a) the proportion of the 30 tonnes of plutonium estimated to be recovered from reprocessing at THORP by the year 2000 that will arise from imported foreign spent fuel, (b) what safeguards will apply to the recovered plutonium and who will pay for the safeguards and (c) what arrangements exist for the return of the plutonium to the country of origin in terms of technical capability and treaty agreements.

British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL) estimates that, by the year 2000, some 80 per cent. of the plutonium recovered during reprocessing in THORP will arise from spent fuel owned by overseas customers. This plutonium will be subject to Eurotom safeguards and to the terms of the appropriate safeguards agreements signed by the United Kingdom and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The recovery of BNFL's costs arising from safeguards on its facilities is a commercial matter for the company. Costs of inspection and related activities are met by Eurotom and the IAEA.Plutonium arising from reprocessing in THORP is transferred overseas only subject to the application of safeguards and on receipt of assurances covering peaceful use, physical protection and controls on re-transfer.