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Nuclear Industry

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes she plans to make in the security regulations covering the civil nuclear industry; what costs will be incurred in the proposed changes; what additional resources she is making available to the Office of Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) to implement the regulations; and when she expects to receive the next annual report of the OCNS. [103089]

On 26 February I made the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations which will update and consolidate the regulation of security in the UK's civil nuclear industry. The regulations carry forward the main substance of the current regulatory regime, but bring the existing requirements together to provide a single, comprehensive legislative basis for regulation. They set requirements for the protection of nuclear and radiological material, whether on sites or in transit, against the risks of theft or sabotage, and for the protection of sensitive nuclear information, such as site security arrangements and proliferation-sensitive information.The regulations were laid before Parliament on 28 February and most of the provisions are due to come into force on 22 March.It is likely that the regulations will lead to minor additional one-off compliance costs to industry as a whole of around £190,000, and annually recurring costs to industry as a whole of around £115,000. There are also likely to be minor additional one-off costs to Government. The likely costs and benefits of the regulations are set out in a Regulatory Impact Assessment. Copies of this were placed in the Libraries of the House when the regulations were laid before Parliament.Seven additional posts were made available in the Office for Civil Nuclear Security from 2002–03, to increase capacity in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001 and in anticipation of the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 coming into force.The Director of Civil Nuclear Security intends to submit his next annual report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps have been taken to engage stakeholders in discussion of proposals to create a nuclear decommissioning agency (NDA); what funds are available to defray the costs of participation in discussion forums by stakeholders of the NDA; and if she will make a statement. [103090]

My officials are actively engaging with interested stakeholders, in particular through a planned rolling series of meetings at regional level. The first round of these meetings is focusing on explaining progress to date and identifying the issues which stakeholders wish to discuss. The second round, in the summer, will focus on how the NDA might work with stakeholders with a view to developing a draft stakeholder engagement framework which the NDA can build on once it is in place. This programme of regional events supplements existing arrangements for bilateral dialogue with stakeholders through the BNFL Stakeholder Dialogue and regular meetings with the nuclear regulators, trade unions, BNFL and UKAEA staff, Interested local authorities, environmental groups and the local liaison committees for individual sites.I recognise that some stakeholders incur costs through their participation in such meetings. We have previously reimbursed any reasonable costs on a case by case basis and will continue to do so.