FIRST REPORT SESSION 2002-03|
By the Select Committee appointed to consider
Science and Technology.
MANAGING RADIOACTIVE WASTE:
the Government's response
On 23 November 2001, this Committee published a Report entitled
Managing Radioactive Waste: the Government's consultation.
In July 2002, the Government sent us a response. The response,
which we welcome, is
published in Appendix 2 to this Report.
We do, however, note that the Government has not responded explicitly to the
point raised in paragraphs 32 and 33 of the Committee's Report.
The paragraphs are:
32. As long ago as 1976, the Royal Commission on Environmental
Pollution recommended that there should be no significant expansion
of nuclear power "until it has been demonstrated beyond reasonable
doubt that a method exists to ensure the safe containment of long-lived
highly radioactive waste for the indefinite future".
We took this as axiomatic in our 1999 Report,
and the Minister also concurred with this long-standing proposition
33. We wish to emphasise that the test is not
that disposal arrangements are in place but that, beyond reasonable
doubt, they are in prospect. Although we are not yet satisfied
that disposal arrangements are reasonably in prospect, that should
not inhibit the thinking which can be done in parallel about the
possible rôle for nuclear power in the future. However,
should the need for new construction arise, we foresee the need
to compress the currently proposed timetable for having permanent
radioactive waste disposal arrangements in place.
We would welcome a response from the Government on that particular
We note particularly the last three sentences of the Government's
response, which say:
"Words are easy. We have set out some aspirations. We must
now put them into practice".
The Select Committee encourages the Government to do so, and will
watch with interest to see what progress is made.
1 First Report Session 2001-02, HL Paper 36. Back
The Committee's current membership and declared interests are
in Appendix 1. Back
Nuclear waste and the Environment, Royal Commission on
Environmental Pollution, Sixth Report. Back
Management of Nuclear Waste, Third Report Session 1998-99,
HL: Paper 41. Back