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Uranium: Mining

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what submissions were received on uranium mining, milling and processing in the consultation his Department held on nuclear justification in 2009; what account was taken of those submissions in preparation of the current nuclear justification consultation; what technical advice his Department has obtained on the radiological impact of uranium mining in the nuclear fuel production and use cycle compared to other stages; and what his latest information is on the radiological detriment contributed by uranium mining in his Department's comparative sustainability analysis of nuclear new build. (315993)

The consultation on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's proposed decisions that the AP1000 and European pressurised reactor nuclear power station designs are justified under the terms of the Justification of Practices Involving Ionising Radiation Regulations 2004 states that several of those who responded to the previous consultation on the Nuclear Industry Association's application for Regulatory Justification of new nuclear power station designs raised the impact of uranium mining. My right hon. Friend took account of all responses received in coming to the proposed decisions on which we are consulting. The decision documents set out my right hon. Friend's view that he is not bound to take practices outside the UK into account in making his proposed decisions, but that in view of respondents' concerns he has sought further information on the safety regime for uranium mining, and set out the information he has taken into account, including technical advice from Integrated Decision Management.

The Appraisal of Sustainability published as part of the consultation on the draft Nuclear National Policy Statement is intended to assess the environmental and sustainability impacts of the draft Nuclear National Policy Statement and therefore focuses on those impacts which arise from the draft Nuclear National Policy Statement itself. The draft Nuclear National Policy Statement provides guidance to the Infrastructure Planning Commission on the construction and operation of new nuclear power stations. It does not cover mining or milling of uranium. Copies of the Regulatory Justification consultation documents have been placed in the Library of the House and are available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/regJust_cons/reg_just_cons.aspx

Copies of the consultation documents on a draft Nuclear National Policy Statement, have been placed in the Library of the House and are available at:

https://www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk/home/

We will consider any new and relevant information that is submitted as part of these current consultations.