§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the minimum and average levels of radioactive waste disposed from Capenhurst into the Irish Sea.
§ Mr. Benn
I am advised by BNFL that, under the existing authorisation for discharge of very low levels of radioactivity from Capenhurst, an average of about 100 millicuries of uranium and other nuclides are discharged each year via the River Mersey into the Irish Sea. The lowest annual figure in the last five years has been 72 millicuries.
An application has been made to my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for an authorisation to discharge via the Meols Long Sea sewage outfall up to 20 kilogrammes of uranium per calendar month—equivalent to approximately 15 millicuries—and up to four curies of technetium 99 and 40 millicuries of other radionuclides a year. This application is still under consideration. Meanwhile, the small quantity of material that would be covered by this authorisation is being transported to BNFL's Springfields Works where it is included in its authorised discharge to the Irish Sea.
§ Mr. Mulley
I have been asked to reply.
I am not aware of any announcement concerning radioactive waste lost in the course of nuclear armament manufacture.