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Radioactive Materials: Transport

Volume 475: debated on Friday 16 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 484W, on Radioactive Materials: Transport, what plans he has to ensure that the refurbished truck cargo heavy duty trailers and newly purchased tractor heads are compliant with regulations on radiation hazard, with particular reference to the carrying of radiation hazard warning signs when loaded with special nuclear materials; and if he will make a statement. (205190)

The regulations governing the transport of radioactive material, including the requirements for radiation hazard warning signs, are the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Transportable Pressure Vessel Regulations 2007. Provision exists within these for radioactive materials defined as instruments of war, or components thereof, to be exempt. Notwithstanding, arrangements have been put in place for the transportation of special nuclear material that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, at least as good as those required by legislation.

Hazard warning signs are generally intended to provide information to responding emergency services in the event of an incident. The Ministry of Defence police escorting convoys have this and more information to hand. All factors, including security, will be taken into account in determining whether hazard signs will appear on the replacement vehicles when carrying special nuclear material.