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Cap Le Hague Nuclear Reactor

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are in place for the protection of the Isle of Wight in the event of an attack on the Cap Le Hague nuclear reactor in France. [102839]

I have been asked to reply.In the event of any overseas nuclear incident (arising from an accident or a deliberate act) the Government's National Response Plan for Overseas Nuclear Accidents and RIMNET would be activated. A copy of this plan is available in the Library.The UK Government would expect to receive notification of such an incident via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE), bilateral agreements between Governments for exchange of information (France, Denmark, Holland, Norway and Russia are signatories) or an alert from one or more of the 93 gamma dose rate monitoring sites that comprise the UK's national radiation monitoring network (RIMNET).An assessment of the likely impact of any release of radioactivity on the UK would be made immediately using all available information together with dispersion prediction modelling provided by the Meteorological Office. Using global weather information the current and forecast meteorological scenario would provide early estimates of the trajectory and the time of impact in the UK. This information when combined with environmental monitoring will allow the Government to assess projected levels of contamination and likely coverage.A Technical Co-ordination Centre would be set up in the purpose-built Defra emergency room in London, from where a team of officials experienced in dealing with emergencies would co-ordinate the response to the incident. Public information and advice based on this information would be prepared and distributed from the Technical Co-ordination Centre to all the authorities and organisations with responsibilities for protecting the public and the environment including those on the Isle of Wight if the island was likely to be affected.