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Thorp

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 7 June, Official Report, column 100, if he will set out a breakdown of the 83,000 responses to the THORP consultation exercise in a format that is available to his Department.

In their report of the consultation exercise on the draft Sellafield authorisations the inspectorates provide the following breakdown of responses received:

Number
Total number of letters received83,731
Illegible names and addresses12,170
Total for19,217
Total against64,514
Proformas49,041
Petitions for17
Petitions against2159
118,467 names
228,780 names

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give permission for the uranium section of THORP to be commissioned; and what criteria he would apply in reaching such a decision.

HM inspectorate of pollution and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 22 July that, subject to the completion of the procedures under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, they are minded to grant a variation of BNFL's existing authorisations to discharge liquid and gaseous radioactive waste, on or after the 12 August 1993, so that natural and depleted uranium could be used to test THORP.HM inspectorate of pollution and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food reached this position in the light of several considerations. The radiological impact of the emissions from testing THORP in this way would be very small, less than 0·001 per cent. of the average dose to the United Kingdom population from natural background radiation. The impact would be small in comparison with the impact from THORP in full operation if it is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and—after considering the representations received during the public consultation—HMIP and MAFF inspectors have concluded that the impact from THORP in full operation would be acceptable. Only natural or depleted uranium would be used—no testing with spent fuel would be allowed under the terms of the proposed variation. There would be no increase to the existing limits on emissions from Sellafield.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information is still required before THORP is commissioned.

My right hon. Friend announced in his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) on 28 June, Official Report, column 392, a further round of consultation. A final decision will be taken after this.