Nuclear Weapons: Safety

Department of Health written question – answered on 13th July 2017.

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Photo of Earl Baldwin of Bewdley Earl Baldwin of Bewdley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 12 October 2015 (HL1940), what plans they have to commission or financially to support further studies that might meet the "specific and relatively narrow criteria" of the 2015 Cochrane review Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries, in the light of the point made in that review’s abstract that "the applicability of the results to current lifestyles is unclear because the majority of the studies were conducted before fluoride toothpastes and the other preventative measures were widely used".

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the radioactive contamination of marshland adjacent to the Atomic Weapons Establishment following flooding in July 1989; and how that assessment has affected current policy.

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the illegal discharge of tritium into the Aldermarston Stream from the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the fire at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in August 2010.

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the radioactive contamination of marshland adjacent to the Atomic Weapons Establishment following flooding in July 1989; and how that assessment has affected current policy.

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the illegal discharge of tritium into the Aldermarston Stream from the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Liberal Democrat

Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to (1) the public, and (2) the environment, from the fire at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in August 2010.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

The answer given on 21 March 2017 (HL6105) was in response to a question concerning safety improvements in the defence nuclear weapons programme. The response was in relation to radiological incidents at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), none of which have ever posed any risk to the health of the public or the environment. The incidents raised by the noble Baroness did occur; a small number of residents were evacuated in 2010 as a precautionary measure due to a fire in a non-nuclear area. I can confirm that in none of the incidents cited was it assessed that there was any radiological risk to the public.

The risk of any of these incidents recurring has been greatly reduced due to subsequent improvements to the infrastructure at AWE.

Activity at AWE sites is governed by a number of permits, authorisations, licences and consents for managing waste and discharges to the environment. AWE plc and the Ministry of Defence continuously monitor their compliance and inspections are routinely undertaken by the relevant regulatory authorities, including the Environment Agency.

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