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26 Nov 2002 : Column 170W—continued



Mr. Donaldson:: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to introduce pension provision for part-time soldiers in the Royal Irish Regiment. [83044]

Dr. Moonie: The employment rights of part-time soldiers serving in the Royal Irish Regiment are currently the subject of applications to the Industrial Tribunal. The right to a pension is one of the issues under consideration. It would be inappropriate to

say more at this stage.

Aircraft Carriers

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of BAE Systems' bid for the position of prime contractor for the new aircraft carrier; how many jobs will be dependent on this procurement; and if he will make a statement. [83229]

Dr. Moonie: The Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) programme is currently in the Assessment Phase, Stage 2 of which ended on 20 November. The procurement strategy for CVF does not rely on a 'bid' process, rather the two candidate prime contractors (BAE Systems and Thales) have been assessed on a continuous basis over the last three years. It is this continuous assessment that will form the basis of our forthcoming selection of preferred prime contractor. In terms of jobs, it is still too early to be definitive as to the numbers that will be involved but early indications suggest that the CVF programme could sustain and create some 10,000 jobs across the United Kingdom during the design and manufacture of the carriers; this would be true irrespective of which of the two candidate primes is eventually selected.

Mr. James Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with companies wishing to be the prime contractor for the procurement of the new aircraft carriers; and when the decision will be made. [83223]

Dr. Moonie: We have had close contacts with the two candidate prime contractors for the Future Aircraft Carrier (BAE Systems and Thales) throughout the second stage of assessment, which was completed on 20 November. We are currently in the process of compiling the results from our continuous assessment of both contractors and consulting with interested parties; we plan to announce our decision by 31 January 2003.

26 Nov 2002 : Column 171W

Apache Helicopter

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has plans to upgrade or replace the night-vision system on the Apache helicopter. [82124]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 November 2002]: An upgrade of Apache's night vision system has been identified as one of a range of possible enhancements to the helicopter during its service life. No decision has yet been taken on this specific element.

BAE Systems

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the names are of the secondees from BAE Systems working in his Department; and what work they are engaged in. [81326]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer Monday 25 November 2002]: Alan Garwood's appointment as Head of Defence Export Services was announced on 16 September 2002.

I am withholding the names of the other five BAE Systems secondees, in accordance with Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. They are respectively engaged with training on Smart Acquisition; support chain management; logistics capability development; research in electronic warfare and warship support. Additionally, on 4 November, a secondee from BAE Systems began work on air logistics support.

26 Nov 2002 : Column 172W

Canberra PR9

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his procurement strategy for the replacement of the Canberra PR9s. [82215]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 10 June 2002, Official Report, column 753W, to the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray).

Chatham Dockyard

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on refit network schedules at the former Chatham dockyard including removal and refurbishment of (a) the reactor/equipments and (b) associated pipework; and when these refits took place. [82523]

Dr. Moonie: Refit work undertaken on nuclear powered submarines at the former Chatham dockyard was subject to a rigorous production control system, which authorised repair work, including the removal and refurbishment of reactors/equipments and associated pipework, as identified in the overall refit network schedule programme. Refit work undertaken at the dockyard from 1970 until its closure in 1983 is shown in the table.

DatesSubmarineRefit work
April 1970 to May 1972ValiantFirst refit and reactor refuel
June 1971 to October 1973WarspiteFirst refit and reactor refuel
December 1973 to October 1975ChurchillFirst refit and reactor refuel
May 1974 to October 1976DreadnoughtSecond refit, reactor refuel and first decontamination of Primary Loop
October 1975 to June 1977ConquerorFirst refit and reactor refuel
November 1976 to July 1978CourageousFirst refit and reactor refuel
April 1977 to January 1978SovereignReactor modification
January 1978 to February 1980ValiantSecond refit and reactor refuel
August 1979 to March 1982WarspiteSecond refit and reactor refuel
October 1980 to May 1983ChurchillSecond refit and reactor refuel
March 1982 to March 1983DreadnoughtDecommissioning and defuel

Due to the time elapsed since the closure of Chatham dockyard, further information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how nuclear waste was transported (a) within the former Chatham dockyard and (b) externally; and how it was identified. [82525]

Dr. Moonie: Within the dockyard, radioactive waste was moved in suitable containers, and under the supervision of an authorised person, in accordance with the Factories Act 1955 and the national regulations on ionising radiations that were in force at the time. Arrangements for the transportation of low-level waste took account of the route over which the waste had to be moved, and the nature of the waste itself. Waste was routinely moved from the Nuclear Complex to the Solid Waste Disposal Facility, a distance of about one mile, by motor vehicle. Within the Solid Waste Disposal Facility, waste containers were moved by fork-lift truck, although some very low-level wastes were moved over short distances by a hand-operated electrical lifting vehicle, where this was judged to be safe. Large items of intermediate level waste were usually transported within the dockyard under a police escort.

Very low-level waste for disposal by the local authority, and low-level wastes for delivery to the National Disposal Service at Harwell and to the national repository at Drigg, were usually transported by road vehicle, although on occasions waste was transported by rail. All transport of radioactive materials on the public highway or by rail was in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency's Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether unclassified workers at the former Chatham dockyard received the same training in respect of radiation exposure as classified workers. [82526]

26 Nov 2002 : Column 173W

Dr. Moonie: Prior to first starting work involving radiation, all radiation workers, whether classified or unclassified, received a lecture on the hazards and standard procedures for radiation protection. They were also given a personal copy of a booklet on radiation protection, which reiterated the content of the lecture. In addition, classified workers were given specific instruction appropriate to the nature of their work.

Visitors making short, supervised, educational or familiarisation visits to radiation areas, at times when the risk was judged to be low, were not required to receive such standard training.

Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how (a) solid and (b) liquid nuclear waste at the former Chatham dockyard was stored (i) within the nuclear complex and (ii) within the wider dockyard environment. [82527]

Dr. Moonie: Solid radioactive waste was stored in the purpose-built Solid Waste Disposal Complex at the eastern end of Chatham dockyard. Other industrial buildings within the dockyard were also used as radioactive waste stores, as and when necessary. These buildings were monitored for radioactive contamination after use and, where necessary, decontaminated. Solid radioactive waste was stored in accordance with the Factories Act 1955, national ionising radiation regulations and Royal Naval instructions for radiological protection that were in force at the time. The arrangements were subject to inspection by the Factory Inspectorate.

Liquid nuclear waste was disposed of directly to the effluent treatment plant (ETP) in the nuclear complex, or transferred via liquid effluent tanks to the ETP.

Used resins, which were a mixture of solid and liquid material, were kept in specially designed resin catch tanks. They were stored at the Solid Waste Disposal Complex.

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