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11 Dec 2002 : Column 328Wcontinued
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many letters she has received in the last three months from (a) hon. Members and (b) Members of the public regarding fireworks. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 9 December 2002]: During the last three months the Department has received 359 letters from hon. Members and 1,089 letters from members of the public regarding fireworks.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantities of plutonium owned by Swiss customers are held at Sellafield; in what form it is stored; and what arrangements exist for its return to Switzerland. 
Mr. Wilson: The total amount of plutonium to be allocated to any one reprocessing customer is directly related to the total amount of spent fuel that customer has contracted to be reprocessed. BNFL has contracts to reprocess at THORP 422 tonnes of spent fuel belonging to Swiss electricity generators. The total allocation of plutonium allocated to Swiss customers is a commercial and contractual matter for the owners of the spent fuel and BNFL as the provider of the reprocessing service. However, approximately 1 per cent. of each tonne of spent fuel will be plutonium.
Certain Swiss reprocessing customers have already concluded contracts for the manufacture of MOX fuel, making use of their plutonium dioxide, and these contracts are in the process of being fulfilled. Accordingly, plutonium currently held at Sellafield on behalf of Swiss customers is held in three forms: spent fuel, separated plutonium dioxide and fresh MOX fuel. In addition, some Swiss owned plutonium dioxide has already been made into MOX fuel and used in Swiss reactors. All Swiss plutonium is expected to be returned to Switzerland in the form of MOX fuel.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information her Department has (a) received and (b) sought from BNFL Westinghouse in the United States on its plutonium immobilisation programme. 
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial investment has been made by BNFL into immobilization of surplus plutonium at Sellafield; and if she will make a statement on progress to date with the immobilisation programme. 
11 Dec 2002 : Column 329W
Mr. Wilson: BNFL have informed me that as part of its work programme to examine the management options for stored separated plutonium, it is carrying out analysis of various technologies under assessment or study worldwide. BNFL's investment in the plutonium fuels related R&D is approximately #2 million per year.
The company is also examining alternative immobilisation techniques and technologies for those stocks which may prove difficult to convert into fuel. These non-fuel immobilisation technologies are currently in a development or exploratory stage, as they are throughout the world. The work being undertaken by BNFL is part of a wider investment in waste immobilisation technologies of some several million pounds each year; this includes an investment in the UK university base of some #2.5 million over five years.
To this end, DTI will continue to work with the industry-led Textiles and Clothing Strategy Group on a range of initiatives aimed at increasing its competitiveness and productivity through the development of innovative products, more efficient production methods and by diversifying into new markets.
Mr. Wilson: The Department of Trade and Industry has funded five projects since March 2001, with a total value of #356,898, that have addressed the impact of wind farms on radar and aviation interests. These projects have all addressed both civilian and military radar.
11 Dec 2002 : Column 330W
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average (a) nominal and (b) real price of each form of alcohol with a separate duty regime was in each year since 1996; and what the consumption per head was of each form of alcohol with a separate duty regime in each year since 1996. 
John Healey: Unfortunately, price data are not available at the level of individual duty regimes. The following tables contain estimates of annual average prices for beer, spirits, cider, light wine and sparkling wine. The estimates are based on bi-monthly prices from an established market research company for on-trade and off-trade outlets and have been weighted by volume.
|Light wine (litre)||5.51||5.86||6.13||6.28||6.73||6.77|
|Sparkling wine (litre)||8.01||8.11||7.90||7.60||7.90||7.91|
|Constant 2001 prices|
|Light wine (litre)||6.25||6.45||6.52||6.58||6.85||6.77|
|Sparkling wine (litre)||9.09||8.92||8.40||7.97||8.05||7.91|
The following table contains estimates for consumption per head for the different categories of alcohol under separate duty regimes. They have been obtained using estimated adult population aged 16 and over and clearance volumes.
|Litres per adult|
|Spirits (@40 per cent. abv)||4.4||4.5||4.2||4.8||4.9||5.0|
|Wine of fresh grape|
|Still <15 per cent. abv||16.4||16.3||16.9||17.7||18.6||19.9|
|Sparkling <15 per cent. abv||0.8||0.8||0.9||1.2||1.1||1.1|
|>15 per cent. abv||0.7||0.7||0.8||0.7||0.6||0.6|
|>1.2 per cent. to 5.5 per cent. abv||3.8||2.5||2.6||3.8||5.9||7.7|
|Still >5.5 per cent. to 15 per cent. abv (and >15 per cent. abv)||1.1||1.0||0.9||0.9||0.9||0.8|
|Sparkling >5.5 per cent. to 15 per cent. abv||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01|
11 Dec 2002 : Column 331W
John Healey: The Treasury receives a large volume of correspondence on debt relief. In 2002 the Treasury has received to date over 29,000 letters and postcards on debt relief and related issues. Unfortunately, the number of representations received from each nation and region of the United Kingdom are not recorded separately.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what actions he will take in the event of the Office of Fair Trading finding proposed public sector regulations to have deleterious effects on competition. 
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) may express a view on the competition impact of proposed public sector regulations during informal consultations or as part of the competition assessment in the Regulatory Impact Assessment process (all proposals for legislation which have an impact on business undergo a Regulatory Impact Assessment). Such views will of course be given due consideration.
OFT also carry out investigatory market studies which may consider the impact of existing or proposed regulation. The Government will respond to such market studies with recommendations within 90 days of receiving the report.
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