I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 35, 57 and 91 together.
The House will be aware that last week the UK Government published a White Paper on the conclusions of its year-long Nuclear Energy Review. The review focused mainly on the future prospects for nuclear power, including plans to privatise, during 1996, some parts of the UK's nuclear generating industry.
The White Paper has confirmed the UK Government's commitment to nuclear power, provided it remains competitive and is able to maintain rigorous standards of safety and environmental protection. The two nuclear electricity generating companies, Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear, will be merged and part privatised. Seven of the more modern nuclear reactors within those companies, called advanced gas-cooled reactors and the new pressurised water reactor at Size-well, will be transferred into the private sector. The older MAGNOX stations and their liabilities will remain in public ownership under a new Government-owned, stand-alone company, which will ultimately be integrated with British Nuclear Fuels plc. (BNFL). The White Paper states that there will be no other change in the status of BNFL — it remains publicly-owned along with its facilities at Sellafield.
The White Paper emphasises that there is no case for state intervention or public funds for the construction of new nuclear plants. It also states that payments to Nuclear Electric from the existing fossil fuel levy on electricity consumers will cease at the time of privatisation.