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Alan Johnson: The directive will be formally adopted in the coming weeks. Each member state will then have three years to bring into force the necessary implementing legislation. We will be consulting in due course on how best to implement it in the UK.
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The four reactors at BNFL's Calder Hall power station have been shut down for a prolonged period while BNFL undertakes work to review the safety of defuelling activities at the station. This follows the incident that occurred at the Chapelcross power station (which is similar in design to Calder Hall) where the grab on the hoist inside the defuelling machine failed causing the basket to detach
6 Mar 2002 : Column 357W
from the hoist and some fuel rods to fall down the discharge well into a water filled fuel transport flask at the bottom of the well.
In accordance with the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), BNFL is currently carrying out work to recommission the fuel discharge route for the four reactors at the Calder Hall power station. This is part of the planned return to service of the reactors. The recommissioning process provides for particularly careful oversight of these operations in order to ensure that no problems arise as a result of any plant modifications that may have been made during the shutdown.
With NII's agreement, BNFL started to carry out some defuelling of Reactor 1 at Calder Hall as part of that recommissioning process. On 8 February 2002, the first 24 fuel rods had been safely removed from the reactor and were in a fuel basket inside the defuelling machine. The fuel basket was about to be lowered in the normal way when it unexpectedly descended partway down the discharge well before stopping. The basket remained attached to the hoist and all the fuel remained inside the basket within the containment of the fuel discharge route.
BNFL reported the event to the NII on 8 February. The NII observed the subsequent operation to recover the basket by manually lowering it down the discharge well into the flask. This operation was completed on 10 February and the fuel was removed in the normal way. There was no health risk either to members of the public or to personnel on site at any stage.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the external financing limit target of the Post Office was in (a) 19992000 and (b) 200001; whether it was met; and what proportion of post tax profit the external financing limit represented in each year. 
Mr. Alexander: As set out in the White Paper: "Post Office Reform: A World Class Service for the 21st Century", the Government replaced the setting of external financing limits with a new regime based on commercial dividends. No external financing limit was therefore set in respect of the years 19992000 and 200001.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the external financing limit target for the Post Office is in (a) this financial year and (b) 200203; and whether she expects those targets to be met. 
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Mr. Alexander: As set out in the White Paper: "Post Office Reform: A World Class Service for the 21st Century", the Government replaced the setting of external financing limits with a new regime based on commercial dividends. No external financing limit was therefore set for the current financial year or will be set for 200203.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she will make to the Postal Services Commission in order to ensure the continued availability of postal services in rural areas. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 28 February 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is in regular contact with the Postal Services Commission. The Government have enshrined the universal postal service in legislation. The Postal Services Commission therefore has a primary statutory duty to ensure provision of a universal postal service. It also has a duty to have regard to the interests of individuals residing in rural areas. In exercising its functions Postcomm must act in accordance with all its statutory duties. These duties provide for continued provision of postal services in rural areas.
|Johnson Matthey||Enfield||Chemical waste|
|Clinical Energy||Hillingdon||Clinical waste|
|London Waste Ltd.||Edmonton||Municipal waste|
|Thames Water||Beckton||Sewage sludge|
|Thames Water||Crossness||Sewage sludge|
|Reichhold (UK) Ltd.||Mitcham||Process water from polymerisation process|
Smaller facilities are regulated by local authorities. Each year my Department surveys the 32 London boroughs and the Corporation of London seeking information on the number of incinerators they regulate. 27 authorities responded this year. In total, these 27 authorities regulated 20 crematoria and five other waste incinerators. Rounded up to the 33 authorities, this relates to 23 crematoria and six other incinerators.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she is taking to (a) monitor and (b) reduce harmful emissions from municipal incinerators. 
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Margaret Beckett [holding answer 28 February 2002]: Emission standards apply throughout the EU to municipal solid waste incineration facilities(MSWI's), both old and new. Enforcement action will be considered where monitoring reveals breaches of these standards.
MSWI's are required to operate in accordance with best available techniques (BAT). The Environment Agency provides guidance to operators on how to achieve this. This identifies requirements for incinerators' design and operation. To ensure effective destruction of pollutants; residence time, temperature and turbulence are strictly controlled. The Agency is currently updating this guidance and I understand that an early consultation draft has also been placed on the Agency's website.
We are currently transposing the new waste incineration directive, which will further tighten emissions standards. The older generation of incinerators has now been replaced with newer, cleaner technology, and most municipal waste incinerators in this country already meet the tough standards that will be introduced with the new directive. Incinerator emissions of all air pollutants are now less than 1.5 per cent. of total UK emissions.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the frequency and methodology of sampling for dioxin emissions at the SELCHP incinerator. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 28 February 2002]: Dioxin emissions from SELCHP are regularly monitored by the operators on a six-monthly basis to check compliance with the EU-wide emission standards.
Additionally, the Environment Agency carries out independent check monitoring at a minimum frequency of once per year. All monitoring results, including those carried out by the operators, are available on public registers held at the offices listed.
The emissions monitoring methodology is based on US Environmental Protection Agency Method 23. This requires samples to be taken over a period of six to eight hours, at a variety of locations in the stack. Samples are then removed for laboratory analysis using sophisticated and time consuming techniques.
1 Catford Road
The Environment Agency
Frimley Business Park
6 Mar 2002 : Column 360W
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 28 February 2002]: Dioxin emissions have been regularly monitored at SELCHP for the last eight years, both by the operator and by the Environment Agency, to check compliance with EU-wide emission standards. Level of dioxins monitored at SELCHP over the last four years are given in the table:
|Dioxin level at stack 1||Dioxin level at stack 2||Monitoring|
|September 1999||less than 0.01||less than 0.01||SELCHP|
|September 1998||0.007||less than 0.01||SELCHP|
The result recorded for Stack 2 for January 2001 is numerically above this limit, although the inherent uncertainty of measurement at these very low levels is such that the true concentration cannot confidently be said to be above the limit. Nevertheless, in view of this uncharacteristic result, the Environment Agency required further monitoring which was carried out in April 2001 as shown in the table above. A note was placed on the public register stating, for the January 2001 results:
1 Catford Road
Frimley Business Park
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