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Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been (a) allocated and (b) spent by the Government on research and development on deep geological disposal of radioactive waste since (i) the end of the NIREX Inquiry in April 1997 and (ii) November 2006. (143774)

The Government spent about £0.5 million on research and development (R&D) on deep geological disposal of radioactive waste between April 1997 and November 2006. We have not spent on R&D in this area since then. However, the main expenditure on deep geological disposal R&D during these periods has been by United Kingdom Nirex Limited (Nirex). The Government owned Nirex from April 2005 until November 2006, when it became part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). This is funded by Government through the Department of Trade and Industry and, partially, through its commercial activities. During the period of Government ownership of Nirex, the company was largely funded by the NDA, with a small additional percentage coming from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The following table shows the expenditure on R&D on geological disposal while Nirex was in Government ownership, and expenditure from November 2006 until end of May 2007 by the NDA following the acquisition and integration of Nirex into the NDA. Prior to April 2005, Nirex R&D activities were funded by its nuclear industry shareholders and the MOD.



Approximate expenditure (£ million)

1 April 2005

31 March 2006


1 April 2006

end October 2006


November 2006

end March 2007


April 2007

end May 2007