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Nuclear Tests

Volume 227: debated on Friday 2 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department is required to give United States authorities, and on what timescale, to enable the United States to carry out its obligations to inform Russia under the threshold test ban verification protocol provisions for notification of forthcoming nuclear tests.

All our nuclear tests at the Nevada test site are jointly planned with the United States authorities. Section IV of the protocol to the treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of underground weapon tests specifies the information which the United States must pass to the Russian Government 200 days prior to the planned date of any relevant test.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of data sent in the last 12 months to United States authorities for transmission to Russian authorities under the threshold test ban treaty verification protocol provisions for notification of forthcoming nuclear tests.

For security reasons, this information is confidential to the Governments concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 June, Official Report, column 650, when the tests of depleted uranium armour-piercing shells at the White Sands and Aberdeen proving grounds in the United States and La Gramat in France were conducted; and what post test-firing of depleted uranium shells health checks were conducted on (i) local populations and (ii) service men involved in the tests at the West Freugh, Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright ranges.

Some early trials were carried out at White Sands missile range and Aberdeen proving ground in the laste 1970s. More recently trials have taken place at La Gramat in 1990 and at Aberdeen in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The health checks on those involved in the depleted uranium firing trials and the environmental monitoring carried out at or near the three United Kingdom ranges are set out in my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces' replies to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Ainger) on 14 June, Official Report, columns 473–74. On the basis of these checks, we have concluded that there is no danger to the health of the local population and no requirement to monitor it.