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Carter Center, Atlanta

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the (a) projects carried out since 1997 and (b) work in progress under part or full funding by her Department by the Carter Center, Atlanta, United States of America. [112748]

Clare Short: My Department has provided the following funding to the Carter Center.

    £230,014 towards the cost of Carter Center monitoring of Mozambique 1999 General Elections. This ongoing project will conclude with Carter Center's final election assessment visit to Mozambique.

Polish-British Enterprise Project

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will place in the Library a copy of the letter from Mr. Jeremy Davenport of her Department to the British Council dated 4 December 1994 concerning the outcome of the Polish-British Enterprise Project. [113738]

Clare Short: A copy of the letter is being placed in the Library.

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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what evaluation her Department made of the leadership of Dr. Brian Burrows on the Polish-British Enterprise Project between 13 and 18 November 1994. [113737]

Clare Short: The first monitoring visit to the project took place from 13-18 November 1994. A number of recommendations concerning project strategy and direction were made in the report which followed and some problems within the project at that time were also highlighted. A copy of the report was provided to Dr. Burrows.


Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what was the level of financial support given by her Department to projects in India in each year since 1992 and 1993. [113652]

Clare Short: The table lists spending by my Department on projects in India for each year since 1992-93:


Financial yearSpending on projects


Depleted Uranium Shells

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to protect personnel in training and operational areas exposed to discharged depleted uranium ammunition. [112839]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 7 March 2000]: We do not use depleted uranium during routine training. It is used during trials and has been used in operations. Detailed safety instructions are distributed to all Arms and Services Training Establishments and to all units serving in operational theatres where there may be a risk of exposure to discharged depleted uranium ammunition. MOD trial sites are subject to a comprehensive programme of monitoring, the results of which are published annually.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many rounds of depleted uranium shells were fired by coalition forces during the Gulf War; how many were fired by UK tanks; how many UK tanks carried depleted uranium shells; and if he will make a statement. [113956]

Mr. Spellar: The US Department of Defense has assessed that over 860,000 DU-based ammunition rounds, of varying calibre, were used by US Forces during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict. The MOD's current assessment is that UK tanks fired fewer than 100 DU rounds against Iraqi military forces during hostilities, although additional

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rounds were fired during earlier work-up training in Saudi Arabia. DU munitions were available in-theatre for the British Main Battle Tanks deployed in combat. These totalled 176 with a further 45 as in-theatre War Reserve.

DU-based tank ammunition was brought into service by the Ministry of Defence because of its unique capability as a kinetic penetrator against the most modern types of Main Battle Tank armour. No satisfactory alternative material currently exists to achieve the levels of penetration required to defeat modern tanks. Although research is being conducted into alternative materials, none have so far demonstrated significant potential. There are, therefore, no plans to remove DU-based ammunition from service. Indeed, if the safety of British troops in any conflict required such a capability against modern Main Battle Tank armour, DU-based ammunition would be deployed and used.

Surplus Nuclear Material

Mr. Llew Smith: 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 material. [113285]

Dr. Moonie: 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.

During 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.

Steps 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.

In 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.

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Activities 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.

The 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.

Astute Class Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what benefits the equipping of the CM010 optronic masts to the Astute Class nuclear attack submarines will provide; what is the cost of the contract for them; and if he will make a statement. [113912]

Dr. Moonie: The optronics masts to be fitted to the three Astute Class submarines currently on order supersede the conventional optical periscopes fitted to earlier RN submarines. The optronics masts offer significant benefits over conventional periscopes. These include improved hull integrity (strength) as the optronics mast no longer needs to penetrate the hull of the submarine; and greater operational flexibility such as improved target analysis, improved effectiveness in different sea states/weather conditions, improved night vision and the ability to distribute and display images on other systems within the submarine. The optronics masts also offer lower through life costs as they require a lower level of technical expertise and maintenance facilities to support them.

The optronics masts are being procured from Pilkington Optronics Ltd. The contract for the masts was placed by the Ministry's Prime Contractor for the Astute Class submarines (BAE SYSTEMS) following competition. The terms and conditions of the sub-contract, including the price, are "commercial--in confidence" and I am, therefore, withholding this information under exemption 13 of the Government's Code on Open Government.

Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the long-term effects of smoke inhalation from burning oil wells incurred during and immediately following the Gulf War; and if he will make a statement. [113911]

Mr. Spellar: The Ministry of Defence has examined the possibility that pollution caused by oil well fires during the Gulf conflict could be responsible for the ill-health now being experienced by some UK Gulf veterans. No evidence has so far emerged to suggest that this is the case. In March 1991, when UK Forces were stationed in Kuwait, consideration was given to the health risks from oil well fires. Information supplied by Shell UK stated that Kuwaiti crude oil had a high (2.5 per cent.) sulphur content. Combustion products were said to contain carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and particulates which were not carcinogens.

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From June to October 1991, the health of personnel serving in 21 EOD Squadron Royal Engineers, who worked in the area affected by smoke, was monitored. A description of this work was published in the Royal Army Medical Corps Journal 1993; 139: 95-97. The results were that exposure to oil fire smoke did not appear to have any effect on respiratory function. No assessment has since been made by the Ministry of Defence of the long-term effects of smoke inhalations in the Gulf.

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