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13 Mar 2003 : Column 360W—continued


Nuclear Reactors (North Korea)

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether BNFL remains contracted to build two nuclear reactors for North Korea; and if she will make a statement. [100984]

Mr. Wilson: BNFL has no contractual commitments to provide two nuclear reactors for North Korea.

However, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, a BNFL subsidiary, has provided technology and supplied components for a number of nuclear plants in South Korea. Westinghouse is under contract with companies in South Korea to manufacture components and to provide system design consulting, in respect of the light-water reactors to be supplied to North Korea by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO).

KEDO is an international organisation formed and funded by the Governments of the United States, South Korea, Japan, the European Union and others. The organisation is responsible for supplying two light-water reactors under the 1994 agreed framework negotiated between the US Government and the North Korean Government.

Equipment being supplied by Westinghouse for the KEDO projects is subject to US export controls and requires US Government authorisations prior to export.

British Energy

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will place in the Library a copy of the British Energy restructuring plan at the same time as it is submitted to the European Commission under state aid rules. [101996]

Mr. Wilson: No. The submission to the European Commission of the restructuring plan relating to British Energy, which was made on 7 March, contains commercially sensitive information. As such, it is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 13—Third Party Commercial Confidences of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the (a) safety and (b) operational performance of British Energy, following the report of the World Association of Nuclear Operators. [102164]

Mr. Wilson: I understand the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) review was requested by British Energy, and like all such reviews is confidential

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between the company and WANO. The Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations' Inspectorate (HSE/NII) welcomes and supports any critical self-examination of health and safety performance by nuclear licensees. The HSE/NII respect the fact that these WANO peer assessments are confidential, although I understand British Energy have briefed the HSE/NII on the main recommendations of the report. The HSE/NII would expect to be informed of any initiatives of relevance to the safe operation of its sites being taken in response to the WANO recommendations.

Car Batteries

Mr. Burnett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what guidance she gives on the disposal of motor car batteries; and if she will make a statement. [102399]

Mr. Wilson: The UK has an excellent record for recycling automotive batteries and it is estimated that close to 90 per cent. are currently recycled, with the vast majority going to the lead smelters at H.J. Enthoven in Derbyshire and Britannia Refined Metals in Kent.

Many local authority civic amenity sites offer collection facilities for automotive batteries and some garages and vehicle accessory stores also participate in collection schemes. Consumers facing difficulties in finding out about the nearest collection point for automotive batteries should contact their local authority. In no circumstances should automotive batteries be disposed of with household waste.

Coal Miners' Compensation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the liability of licensed small coal mines to contribute to coal health compensation claims. [101836]

Mr. Wilson: Licensed small mines have liability together with British Coal for respiratory disease and vibration white finger. The Small Mines Federation is negotiating with the Department and the claimants' solicitors about accession to the claims handling agreement for respiratory disease. Discussions are ongoing with regard to appropriate tortuous dust levels, job dust factors and respirator factors. The issues involved are complex, but a good measure of progress has been made and the Department is pressing for a further meeting on 19 March. Small mines already contribute to compensation under the separate claims handling agreement for vibration white finger.

Compulsory Purchase

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many properties have been compulsorily purchased by (a) the UK Atomic Energy Authority and (b) the Coal Authority in each year since 1999. [101828]

Mr. Wilson: The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority has not undertaken any compulsory purchases in this period. For its part the Coal Authority does not have compulsory purchase powers.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will estimate the transmission losses of electricity in the UK in 2002, broken down by supplier; and what percentage of total electricity supplied this represents. [101690]

Mr. Wilson: Data on electricity losses in 2002 are not yet available. In 2001 total losses of electricity were 30,900 GWh. It is estimated that about 5,600 GWh of this were lost from the high voltage transmission systems and 25,300 GWh (just under 7 per cent. of supply) between the grid supply points an customers meters. As part of its consultation paper on electricity distribution losses OFGEM have published the following figures for losses as a percentage of electricity supplied for each distribution network operator (DNO) in 2000–01. OFGEM have commented that there are many inherent differences in the design and load characteristics of each DNO. Nevertheless, it is not clear that these differences are sufficient to account for the variable performance of distribution companies.

Distribution network operator2000–01 (%)
East Midlands6.0
South Wales7.2
South Western7.9
Scottish Power7.2
Hydro Electric9.1

Employers' Liability Insurance

Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what her estimate is of the number of construction and roofing companies working without employers' liability insurance; [102322]

Mr. Wilson: The HSE is responsible for ensuring compliance with ELI rules. Non-compliance is monitored by means of periodic checks undertaken by Workplace Contacts and HSE's Health and Safety Inspectors. Their estimate for non-compliance based on the level of notices to produce and prosecutions for all employers, not just construction and roofing contractors, under employers' liability compulsory insurance HELC—is low, less than 1 per cent. A breakdown of this figure for construction and roofing firms is not available.

Employers' liability insurance relates to the cost of compensating workers for injury or illness which their employer is liable for. It has no direct relevance to third parties such as members of the public.

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Export Licences

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what export licences were given to UHDE Ltd. of Hounslow to export equipment for the Falluja II chlorine plant mentioned in the Government dossier on Iraq's military programmes of September 2002. [102729]

Nigel Griffiths: I deeply regret that previous Administrations have not considered it appropriate to publish information on individual licensing decisions. Information on export licences issued prior to May 1997, where the end users were in Iraq, is not held centrally and a manual search of all the case files would incur disproportionate cost. Details of all relevant export licences since 2 May 1997 are published in the Government's annual reports on strategic export controls. Copies of the 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 annual reports are available in the Libraries of the House. The 2002 annual report will be published in due course.

The details of this particular case were, however, published in the 1996 report of the inquiry into the export of defence equipment and dual-use goods to Iraq and related prosecutions. The then Vice Chancellor, the right hon. Sir Richard Scott (now the noble Lord Scott of Foscote) concluded that

A copy of the 1996 Scott report is available from the Libraries of the House.

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