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Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the value of investments in Thorp. [129396]

An assessment of the economics of Thorp was published in 1993 as part of the public consultation process concerning operation of the plant. This assessment may be found in the Library of the House. It states that the costs associated with constructing Thorp amounted to £5.5 billion. It also explains that the contracts for the baseload period of the plant's operation provide for recovery of full capital costs as well as the on-going operating costs and provide for the operator, BNFL, to make a profit. Details of BNFL's financial performance—including the performance of its spent fuel management business—are provided in the company's annual reports which are also in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received from the Irish Minister for the Environment on projected closure dates for the Thorp nuclear plant at Sellafield. [128808]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry received a letter dated 26 August from Ireland's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government which seeks information about the future operation of Thorp in the light of extensive recent media reports on this matter in Ireland.