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Birth Certificates

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what purposes his Department requires a birth certificate to be furnished by (a) employees, (b) contractors, (c) those applying for employment and contracts and (d) other persons. [120312]

Dr. Howells: In the DTI and some of its agencies a birth certificate is one of a variety of documents which applicants for jobs may choose to offer as proof of identity and of age, for pension purposes, prior to or at recruitment. In the event of the death of a departmental employee in service, his or her children's full birth certificates are required in order to verify dates of birth for dependants' benefits under the relevant pensions arrangements. Contractors are responsible for establishing proof of the identity of their employees. Birth certificates are not required routinely for any other departmental purposes, although they can be offered by claimants under the Empty Property Compensation Scheme to help establish the validity of such claims in particular lines of inheritance, and they may, in very limited circumstances, be demanded under a number of statutory powers of investigation, for example under Section 434 of the Companies Act 1985.

BNFL

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will instruct the Health and Safety Executive to conduct an investigation into quality control data problems associated with MOX fuel supplied by British Nuclear Fuels to Swiss and German utilities. [119674]

Mrs. Liddell: No. The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Nuclear Installations Inspectorate reported on the data falsification issues in the MOX demonstration facility (MDF) in its report published on 18 February. HSE's

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priority now is to assess BNFL's responses to its reports, published on 18 April, and to monitor the implementation of BNFL's action plans.

I understand that HSE has briefed the Swiss and German nuclear regulators on the findings of their report.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to investigate further allegations made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries about BNFL's ability to manufacture MOX fuel pellets to meet the required specification; and if he will make a statement. [119680]

Mrs. Liddell: I am not aware of the allegations made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries apart from those relating to the falsification of data on secondary pellet diameter checks.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if MOX fuel pellets which should have failed the secondary checks at the Sellafield MOX Demonstration Facility were erroneously approved. [119679]

Mrs. Liddell: The falsification of data occurred at a secondary manual stage of checking, the fuel pellets already having been subject to 100 per cent. automated checking.

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Nuclear Installations Inspectorate reported on the data falsification issues in the MOX Demonstration Facility (MDF) in its report published on 18 February. The report confirmed that some pellet diameter data had been falsified; four of the affected fuel assemblies are in Japan; and the fuel would be safe in use.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has received a copy of an English translation of a report by the TUEV agency produced for the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Lower Saxony on MOX production and quality control standards at Sellafield. [119673]

Mrs. Liddell: I have not received a copy of the report.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will list each of the (a) oral and (b) written parliamentary answers Ministers in his Department have provided since May 1997 which were based on (i) information and (ii) a draft provided by British Nuclear Fuels; [120046]

Mrs. Liddell: Internal advice and the source of such advice is not made public in line with exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will appoint to the board of British Nuclear Fuels a suitably qualified representative from a non-governmental organisation. [120282]

Mrs. Liddell: The BNFL Chairman, Hugh Collum, is looking to refresh and strengthen his board so that the company can tackle the challenges ahead. That will

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include recruiting people of a high calibre with a proven track record to contribute, and be committed, to the success of the business.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will instruct British Nuclear Fuels to replace Lloyds Register Quality Assurance Ltd. as quality verifiers of BNFL activities. [120248]

Mrs. Liddell: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Chaytor) on 28 March 2000, Official Report, column 105W.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy in answering questions from hon. Members to indicate where British Nuclear Fuels helped to draft the reply. [120304]

Mrs. Liddell: Internal advice and the source of such advice is not made public in line with exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the (a) safety management and (b) quality control matters that remain to be addressed by British Nuclear Fuels which were mentioned in the two BNFL reports on 18 April. [120247]

Mrs. Liddell: The BNFL reports published on 18 April included action plans to address each of the 43 recommendations in the two HSE reports on MOX fuel data falsification and on the control and supervision of operations at Sellafield. These action plans show that a number of HSE's recommendations have already been addressed and there are deadlines against each one that BNFL has still to complete. While the HSE has indicated that BNFL's responses provide a good foundation to deliver the necessary safety improvements at Sellafield, it has said that it will be monitoring BNFL's implementation of the action plans and that it will not hesitate to use its enforcement powers if it sees any signs of significant failure by BNFL to deliver on its commitments. Copies of two BNFL reports are available on BNFL's web site at www.bnfl.co.uk.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the reason for the delay in BNFL's response to the report issued on 18 February by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on the storage of liquid high level waste at BNFL, Sellafield. [120250]

Mrs. Liddell: There has been no delay. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report on the storage of liquid high-level waste at Sellafield set no deadline. HSE has agreed with BNFL that the company should respond by the summer.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he was consulted by BNFL in respect of the new management and board member appointees announced by the company on 18 April. [120249]

Mrs. Liddell: I was consulted about the board changes which the company announced on 18 April.

Power Plants

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information his Department

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collects on (a) gas-fired and (b) combined heat and power plants, and on planning applications made for such plants in (i) England and (ii) Wales. [120051]

Mrs. Liddell: In relation to any new power station with a capacity of more than 50 megawatts (whether gas fired or combined heat and power plant), the Secretary of State's consent is required under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. If, having followed the procedures set out in the Electricity Act, the Secretary of State decides to grant consent, planning permission is deemed to be granted under section 90 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. All applications have to provide information as required under the Electricity and Pipe- line Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1990.

Stations with a capacity of more than 10 MW which are fuelled by natural gas require approval under section 14 of the Energy Act 1976 and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will be supplied with factual information for him to form a judgment as to whether energy policy clearance should be given.

Decisions under both the Electricity Act and the Energy Act are announced by way of Parliamentary Answer, Press Notice and informing interested parties direct.

The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics, copies of which are available in the Library of the House, is published annually and contains a chapter on combined heat and power. The Digest for 2000 is due to be published at the end of July and will give annual data on capacity, fuel and output from combined heat and power schemes in the UK for 1999 and earlier years. The Digest also contains a chapter on electricity which gives the latest statistics on the total generating capacity of gas-fired stations, the volume of gas used for generation, and electricity generated and supplied by gas fired stations.


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