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Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the consequences for (a) employment opportunities and (b) skills in the north-west of the award of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) contract to each of the current bidders. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 13 September 2004]: No assessment by DTI has been made of the UK employment implications related to either of the bidders for the MoD's Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) procurement.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list each environment-related European Directive the implementation of which involves her Department; and what steps her Department is taking towards implementation in each case. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
This Department is involved in the implementation of all environment-related European Directives, because of their implications for business, but takes the lead on the following current measures:
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(a) The End-of-Live Vehicles (ELY) Directive (2000/53/EC). Implementation has been partially effected by the ELV Regulations 2003 (S.L 2003/2635), and will be completed by the forthcoming ELV (Producer Responsibility) Regulations, on which public consultation took place earlier this year.
(b) The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2002/96/EC) and The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2202/95/EC). Draft Regulations to transpose these Directives were published for consultation on 30 July 2004.
(c) The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994/62/EC). DTI has introduced Regulations (SI 2003/1941, amended by SI 2004/1188) relating to the essential requirements (composition and definition) of packaging and packaging waste.
(d) The proposed Directive on Batteries and Accumulators and Spent Batteries and Accumulators (COM(2003)723 final). A first consultation, seeking stakeholder views on the proposed measure, has recently closed, and responses are being assessed.
(e) The proposed Directive to amend the Whole Vehicle Type Approval Directive, specifying reusability, recyclability and recoverability standards for vehicle design (COM(2004) 162 final). Negotiations have not yet began on this proposal.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many full-time equivalent staff have been assigned to work on each environment-related European Directive, the implementation of which involves her Department. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The equivalent of 13 full-time executive, administrative economic, and legal staff have been assigned to work on all the range of environment-related European Directives on which DTI takes the lead in implementation.
Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has had of increases imposed by Centrica gas suppliers on prices to domestic customers; what action she is taking to ensure greater diversity in generating electricity with greater use of coal; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: While gas retail prices are a commercial matter for the companies concerned, consumers are normally free to seek a better deal and can switch energy supplier. Although some gas suppliers have announced gas prices recently, even after these price rises the real price of domestic gas will be significantly lower than that seen over most of the last 30 years
We are continuing to monitor developments regarding diversity in the electricity generation market e.g. through the Joint Energy Security of Supply Working Group (JESS) which consists of officials from Government, Ofgem and National Grid Transco.
We recognise the value of coal fired generation, especially its ability to meet peaks in demand and cover supply intermittency. We believe it will have a continuing role in a diverse energy balance provided that its associated carbon emissions can be reduced through clean coal technologies. We plan to publish around the end of the year a Carbon Abatement Technologies Strategy aimed at supporting the development of low carbon technologies from fossil fuels such as coal.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much public money has been given to the MOX Plant at Sellafield in each year since 1990; what the projected sums are for future years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The construction and operation of the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) has been funded by BNFL from income from the company's commercial operations. No publicly voted money has been provided to the company.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which will become operational from 1 April 2005, will assume full financial responsibility for the UK's civil public sector nuclear assets and liabilities.
A number of BNFL's assets will transfer to the NDA in April 2005, including SMP. Money voted by Parliament intended for the clean up programme will not be used to subsidise commercial operations such as SMP.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much revenue was forecast to be generated by the MOX Plant at Sellafield at its inception in each year to 2004; what the outturn has been; what the projections are for future years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government commissioned an independent review of the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) economic case by Arthur D. Little in 2001. The consultants analysis in the report, stated that: "there is a robust economic case for proceeding with SMP" and that "the expected Net Present Value (NPV) of the national economic interest case for SMP is £216 million".
Details of SMP annual revenues are commercially confidential. The recently published audited 2004 Annual Accounts for BNFL noted that the most recent financial forecasts for SMP, which are used both for economic appraisal and accounting for SMP contracts, has shown some deterioration from last year. This reflects recent difficulties in achieving production ramp up and BNFL's current best estimate of the future production profile.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which countries were expected to place orders with the MOX Plant at Sellafield at its inception; and how many have done so to date. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The economic case for the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) presented to the Environment Agency in 1997 was based on MOX business from Japanese, German, Swiss and Swedish customers. To date, SMP has secured contracts from German, Swiss and Swedish customers plus commitments from Japanese customers. I understand from BNFL that the company is hopeful of securing Japanese MOX contracts in the future.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: This is a commercially confidential figure under Exemption 13Third Party Commercial Confidences of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and the Government are working with BNFL to ensure that the best value for money is achieved for the taxpayer with respect to the operations of this plant.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made since December 2003 in respect of the consideration by the European Commission of details provided by the Government on the proposed financing of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what response has been received from the European Commission following the plan presented by the United Kingdom on 1 June in respect of the nuclear waste storage silo B30 at Sellafield. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: As of 7 September, UK authorities had received no formal or substantive response from the Commission to the plan presented on 1 June in respect of B30 at Sellafield. The Commission has however issued a press release dated 3 September in which it states that it will refer the UK to the European Court of Justice. The UK remains keen to engage in a full and co-operative dialogue with the Commission aimed at satisfactorily resolving the remaining Euratom Treaty safeguards issues at the B30 plant.
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