First quarter of 2000
Government Publishes Data on "Surplus" Weapons Plutonium
Official Report (HANSARD), 14 March 2000, columns 105-106
Surplus Nuclear Material
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what quantities
of strategic nuclear material have been declared surplus to military
requirements in the last 10 years; when, and in what form, the material
was transferred to civilian facilities and in which locations; on what
date the material was notified to Euratom and IAEA safeguards authorities
as non-military; when the first visits were paid by inspection teams
from each body respectively to verify the notification; and what costs
have been incurred to date in the transfer of status of the nuclear
Moonie (defence minister):
Details of the defence nuclear materials which are
now deemed to be surplus to our requirements are given in paragraph
26 of Supporting Essay 5 of the Strategic Defence Review (Cm 3999),
[copies of which are in the Library of the House of Commons].
July and August 1998, the following material was brought into safeguards:
Approximately 4.1 tonnes of plutonium stored at the BNFL Sellafield
facility; Approximately 9,000 tonnes of depleted natural and low enriched
uranium at the BNFL Capenhurst, Chapelcross, Sellafield and Springfields
facilities and UKAEA Harwell.
are being taken to move 0.3 tonnes of weapon grade plutonium (in the
form of oxide) stored at AWE Aldermaston to Sellafield when it too will
be formally reported to Euratom and brought into safeguards. To date,
some 73 kilograms of this material have been transferred; the remainder
will be moved as soon as is practicable.
addition to the material referred to above, there have been a number
of occasions over the last 10 years where material has been brought
into safeguards--notably in 1996 when the Calder Hall reactors and the
fuel associated with them came into safeguards. The Department for Trade
and Industry are responsible for safeguards issues. However, they have
advised that the detailed information requested on the large numbers
of these other transfers into safeguards and also inspections by the
international safeguards authorities is not collated centrally and could
be provided only at disproportionate cost.
to verify nuclear material which has been brought into safeguards have
been added to Euratom's ongoing schedule of routine safeguards inspections
at the facilities concerned. These routine inspections are such that
there is essentially continuous Euratom presence at Sellafield, weekly
inspections at the Springfields location and less frequent inspection
visits to the other facilities concerned.
costs to the Defence Budget of the transfers to date are £524,000 (including
VAT) and include the costs of preparation, transports, acceptance of
the material at Sellafield and storage.