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Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what undertakings he has received from the relevant US authorities that British subcontractors and suppliers to the JSF project will have full access to Stealth and other technologies required to contribute to the manufacture of this aircraft; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The JSF MOU and the exchange of letters agreed with the US provide for extensive access to technical information that can be used by the UK Government and industry in connection with the JSF programme. These documents are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the carrier-borne aircraft version of JSF and the timetable for a decision on the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier. 
Work to assess carrier design options is continuous and a decision about proceeding with Demonstration and Manufacture of the vessels is expected at the end of 2003, by which time we expect to have made a decision on JSF variant.
Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how United Kingdom forces in the Balkans were warned to stay clear of areas in which depleted uranium ammunition had been expended; what precautions they were required to take if they were obliged to enter these areas; what monitoring of their physical welfare took place thereafter; and on what date such precautionary warnings and measures were first announced. 
Mr. Spellar: [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Specialist explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) troops should be aware of the risks presented by expended DU ammunition through routine training and instructions. EOD troops are most at risk from expended DU ammunition when clearing Armoured Fighting Vehicles. In these circumstances, they are required to wear inner cotton gloves, outer heavy PVC gloves, a Service respirator, a full NBC suit and a Thermoluminescent Dosimeter until the presence of DU can be positively discounted
British forces first deployed to Bosnia in 1992. Non-specialist troops were not briefed about the risks of expended DU ammunition because there was no confirmation DU had been used there. In December 2000, NATO confirmed that small quantities of DU ammunition had been used during 1994 and 1995, mainly around Sarajevo. Although the risk to British forces of being exposed to expended DU ammunition in Bosnia is small, on 12 January 2001, arrangements were made for them to be briefed on the risks of DU. SFOR issued guidance for their forces on 14 January 2001.
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 520W
British forces first deployed to Macedonia on 7 December 1998 and to Kosovo on 12 June 1999. The Kosovo bombing campaign began on 24 March 1999. On 21 April 1999, HQ Land Command issued a Medical Administrative and Technical Instruction down the medical chains of command entitled "Kosovo--Depleted Uranium Hazard". On 9 June 1999, further advice on the DU risk was passed down the operational chain of command by the Permanent Joint Headquarters to HQ BRITFOR in Macedonia. This was disseminated to Brigade level by HQ BRITFOR on 10 June 1999. From June 1999, the Pre-deployment Training Directive for troops deploying to Kosovo specified DU as one of the topics on which troops should be briefed during their pre-deployment course. From July 1999, the Mounting Order issued to units deploying to Kosovo included the following briefing on DU:
Although instructions are in place for all troops in theatre to be briefed on the risks of DU, contrary to the impression I gave in the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) on 30 November 2000, Official Report, column 727W, my Department is now aware that not all of them have actually been briefed. It has not been possible to establish how many troops have not been briefed. Furthermore, in August 2000, the pre-deployment course briefing on medical issues, including DU, was dropped because of pressure on the course programme and a perception that it duplicated training at units. Instructions to reinstate it were issued on 12 January 2001.
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 521W
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date, and through which channels, his Department first learned from the United States Administration that depleted uranium shells used by the United States forces in the Balkans conflict were contaminated with plutonium; and if British depleted uranium munitions contain plutonium. 
Mr. Spellar: It has long been known in the scientific community, the nuclear industry and by the Defence Radiological Protection Service that depleted uranium (DU) might contain minute traces of isotopes other than U-238, U-235 and U-234. More recently, details about transuranic contamination of US DU, including by plutonium, were made public by the US Department of Energy in September 1999.
Subsequent work in the US, reported by the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illness (OSAGWI) in December 2000, showed that the trace quantities of transuranic elements and fission products in US DU armour plate added only 0.8 per cent. to the radiation dose from the DU itself. This is insignificant given the low radioactivity of DU.
Information obtained from the Starmet Corporation, who supply Royal Ordnance with the DU they use to make ammunition, tells us that for each gram of DU, there is 0.000 000 000 005 2 grams of plutonium 238 and 0.000 000 001 2 grams of plutonium 239/240. The activity contribution of the three naturally occurring uranium isotopes in 1 gram of DU is 14,818 becquerels. The plutonium contributes an extra 6.14 becquerels, or 0.04 per cent. of the radiation of the naturally occurring uranium isotopes.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) plutonium and (b) other highly radioactive particles was contained in the depleted uranium shells fired by Britain during the Gulf War. 
|Technecium-99||0.000 000 71|
|Neptunium-237||0.000 000 22|
|Plutonium-239/240||0.000 000 001 2|
|Americium-243||0.000 000 001|
|Americium-241||0.000 000 000 017|
|Plutonium-238||0.000 000 000 005 2|
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the source of the depleted uranium used to manufacture depleted uranium-tipped projectiles in the British military stockpile; and what steps
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 522W
are taken to remove high activity contaminants from the depleted uranium stocks before manufacture into weapons. 
Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the findings of the UN environmental programme that munition tips at sites attacked by NATO during the Kosovo conflict contain traces of highly radioactive enriched uranium, U-236; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: According to preliminary work carried out by the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP), U-236 makes up 0.0028 per cent. of the uranium found in DU penetrators in Kosovo. They also judge that this amount is too small to change the radiotoxicity compared to DU without U-236. These are just preliminary findings, though, and we await their final assessment.
The U-236 in this DU is from the trace amounts that are in enrichment facilities and from the small amounts of DU that are from the reprocessing of the uranium extracted from nuclear fuel. Work in the US, and reported by the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illness (OSAGWI) in December 2000, showed that the trace quantities of transuranic elements and fission products in US DU armour plate, including U-236, added only 0.8 per cent. to the radiation dose from the DU itself.
Mr. Spellar: Depleted uranium (DU) is stored at Fort Halstead. It is being held in accordance with statutory regulations and to the satisfaction of both the Environment Agency and the Ministry of Defence's statutory radiation protection advisers. DU rounds have not been fired there.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Stroud of 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 44W, on depleted uranium, when he plans to write to the hon. Member. 
Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium-based ammunition has been authorised in the past for use at (a) Tain Air Weapons Range and (b) Cape Wrath, by (i) UK forces and (ii) overseas forces. 
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