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Radioactive Materials: Imports

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which countries uranium used in (a) British nuclear warheads and (b) nuclear submarine propulsion fuel has been obtained since 1980; and what information has been provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency on such imports. (310089)

In March 2006 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) produced a report entitled “Historical Accounting for UK Defence Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)”. The report was announced on 22 March 2006, Official Report, column 24WS. The report, covering the period from the start of the UK’s nuclear programme through to 31 March 2002, confirms that the UK obtained HEU for its military programme from two sources—The Gas Diffusion Plant at BNFL Capenhurst, and through exchanges with the US Department of Energy under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. This does not contravene our obligations under the non-proliferation treaty. There has been no subsequent change to this position, nor is there any requirement to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency of any such acquisitions as MOD HEU is held outside international safeguards for defence purposes but is subject to a strict materials accountancy regime.