§ 11. Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what recent information he has received from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate about the future decommissioning of Magnox nuclear reactors.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
The future of the Magnox nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom is a matter for the operators concerned, subject to their meeting the requirements of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate.
§ Mr. Cook
I should like to be able to thank the Minister for that reply, but there is not a great deal for which I can thank him. It was a fairly empty statement. Can the Minister tell the House whether he is prepared to require the NII to consider the option, on decommissioning Magnox stations, of strengthening their primary and secondary cladding to improve the integrity of their structure, and perhaps use the redundant, cavernous capacity of disused turbine halls for storing—under managed, monitorable and redeemable circumstances—the nuclear waste that is causing so much trouble? It would not have to be transported all over the country to new sites because we would have on site the expertise to do the job that needs to be done.
§ Mr. Spicer
The hon. Gentleman is extremely knowledgeable in these matters and has demonstrated his knowledge on this occasion. The Government do not tell the NII what it should do about its inspections, because the NII sets its own standards. We have full confidence in it and have made sure that it is fully staffed. The NII is the Government's expert body for ensuring standards, and we give it every support in maintaining those standards.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Has the Minister received representations from the private sector on electricity generation under the fast breeder reactor programme? Will he place on record the statement that the FBR programme has been, and continues to be, a useful programme?
§ Mr. Spicer
I believe that that relates to the previous question and not to this one, which is about Magnox stations. They have nothing to do with fast breeder reactors.