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Radiation-related Illnesses

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on potential linkage between illness and radiation exposure for workers at (i) Rosyth and (ii) Faslane; what is his policy on levels of compensation for workers who have radiation-related illnesses; and what medical checks he is undertaking in respect of these workers. [26070]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 3 February 1998]: The risks of disease, including cancer, as a result of exposure to ionising radiation are well documented. Risk estimates for the UK population are published by the National Radiological Protection Board whose evidence is used to formulate national legislation. The exposure of MOD radiation workers at both Rosyth and Faslane has always been monitored and controlled in accordance with this legislation, the purpose of which is to limit the risk to workers to tolerable levels. As required by legislation, my Department's policy is to reduce risks to the lowest reasonably practicable level.

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My Department's policy on compensation for radiation workers is to be a member of the nuclear industry's Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases. This is a no fault scheme where there is no requirement for claimants to prove negligence on the part of the Department in order to receive compensation. The Scheme was set up and is run jointly by the participating employers and Trade Unions and does not affect the claimant's right to seek legal redress. It provides for the assessment of a case, on an agreed technical basis, in order to determine the probability that a cancer contracted by a radiation worker could have been caused by occupational radiation exposure. The amount of compensation payable in a successful case is determined by negotiation between the solicitors representing the parties, using as a basis the same guidelines as would apply if the case had proceeded to Court. However, the Scheme provides for payments to be made at lower levels of causation probability than would be allowed by the Courts. It does this by making a "full" payment at 50 per cent. causation probability similar to the Courts, and in addition making lesser payments down to a 20 per cent. causation probability. In this way the assessment of a case recognises that even below the balance of probability there is a chance that occupational exposure to ionising radiation played a role in causing the disease.

Within my Department, medical checks are undertaken at the discretion of the Appointed Doctor when considered necessary as part of the annual health review of classified radiation workers.

Precision-guided Weapons

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps he has taken to ensure that United Kingdom precision-guided weapons cannot be blinded by enemy multi-spectral smoke shells; [26776]

Mr. Spellar: Research has been carried out into means of countering the effects of multi-spectral smoke shells on UK precision guided weapons. The effects of multi-spectral smoke shells on targeting systems have also been assessed in field trials using representative target acquisition equipment. The potential effects will be taken into account, where appropriate, in our future requirements for precision munitions. To release further details would harm national security or defence and I am therefore withholding them in accordance with exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Computer Hackers

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many attempts by hackers to breach security in his Department's computers were detected in 1996 and 1997; and how many of these were successful. [27871]

Mr. Spellar: A comprehensive security policy on connectivity to public data networks is enforced throughout the MOD. There is no evidence of a successful incursion, from an external source, into any Departmental

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computer system in the period 1996-1997. There has been one instance known to us of a failed attempt over this period.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what years Army personnel from 43 Command Workshop were ordered to dispose of low grade radioactive waste at Hilsea, Portsmouth; and what plans are available relating to the disposal. [27881]

Mr. Spellar: Army personnel from 43 Command Workshop disposed of low grade radioactive waste at Hilsea lines during 1978. Records dating from 1977 for this work are held in MOD files. The burial of the waste at Hilsea lines was approved by the Radiochemical Inspectorate of the then Department of the Environment. The Inspectorate then granted unrestricted access to the sites. Maps showing the locations at Hilsea lines of the buried waste were passed by the Ministry of Defence to the Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment in 1985, prior to the sale of the site to Portsmouth City Council in 1986.

Arms Sales

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the value to Britain of arms sales to each of the top 10 recipient countries in each year since 1990. [26842]

Mr. Spellar: I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Tomahawk Missiles

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department made of the (a) United States Navy exercise in January and June 1993 to test the accuracy of Tomahawk missiles and (b) the United States Defense Department publication Gulf War Air Power Survey findings in procuring Tomahawk missiles for Royal Navy submarines. [27505]

Mr. Spellar: The US Department of Defence has assured us that no Tomahawk exercise firings were conducted during either January or June 1993. The US Government reported in both January and June 1993 that Tomahawk attack operations were conducted against targets in Iraq under the auspices of UN Security Council Resolution 688. Information received from the US DoD about those operations was used with much other information in reaching the decision to procure the Tomahawk weapon system for the Royal Navy.

There is no record of the US DoD publication entitled 'Gulf War Air Power Survey' being used in relation to procurement of Tomahawk.


Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by title the publications produced by his Department between 1 May 1997 and 31 January 1998. [26330]

Mr. Spellar: The information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The vast majority of MOD

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publications, both those published internally and externally, are however processed centrally. In the period specified they dealt with 12,335 Computer controlled publications and 2,713 Manually controlled publications.

MOD Publications are primarily Instructional Manuals/Technical Manuals and general Regulations including Complete Equipment Schedules, Naval Engineering Standards, Illustrated Parts Catalogues and Defence Council Instructions.

The Manually Controlled category includes in excess of 300 Classified Publications.

Conduct (Codes and Standards)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the dates of publication of (a) the two previous and (b) the current paper from the Adjutant General on codes and standards of conduct. [28346]

Mr. Spellar: The Standards and Discipline paper for Army personnel was published by the then Adjutant General in October 1993. There were no previous papers specifically entitled codes and standards of conduct; but 'Man Management', a document which covers similar material, was published in September 1977 and was revised in 1986 and again in 1988.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the current edition of the Adjutant General's paper on codes and standards of conduct. [28347]

Mr. Spellar: Yes. A copy of the Adjutant General's current Discipline and Standards Paper will be placed in the Library shortly.

Military Law Manuals

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when revised editions of the manuals of military law for each of the three services will be available; and if he will place them in the Library. [28342]

Mr. Spellar: The Royal Navy issued a revised edition of the Manual of Naval Law in April 1997. The Army's amendment to the Manual of Military Law is currently being printed and will be distributed shortly. The RAF are undertaking a major revision of the Manual of Air Force Law and Volume I, which contains the bulk of the primary legislation, is due to be published in early 1999. Each will be placed in the Library of the House.

Tank Transporters

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) main battle tank and (b) light tank transporter vehicles are (i) in service and (ii) operationally deployable; and if he will make a statement. [28349]

Mr. Spellar: The Army has 121 main battle tank transporters in service of which 112 are currently in unit hands.

There are 194 vehicles capable of being used to transport light armoured vehicles of which 43 are actually used for this purpose; of all these are unit hands.

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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many tank transporter vehicle drivers are (a) in service and (b) operationally deployed; and if this is designated protected A Trade employment. [28345]

Mr. Spellar: There are 477 tank transporter drivers in the Army. 39 are currently operationally deployed. This is not a protected trade, and I understand that the A Trade designation is no longer in use.

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