"DEBATE ON THE TRANSPORTATION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL REPORT - EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (STRASBOURG) 12TH MARCH, 2001."

Mr. President, I apologise for arriving a little late, but aircraft being what they are I am lucky to be here at all.

Like Mr. Simpson, I speak for the north-west of England, where the nuclear industry is of huge significance - in Springfield, where the rods are manufactured, Sellafield, where they are changed back into something more useful, and Warrington, the headquarters for British Nuclear Fuels.

This industry is never complacent. It recognises the concerns of people in Britain and Europe about the transportation of nuclear material and takes huge trouble in testing what needs to be done. Its record in the transportation of dangerous goods is amongst the best. There has never been a fatality in the transportation of nuclear materials and, if the industry has its way, there never will be.

The debate referred to by Mr. Fitzsimons was one that I saw when I was Northern Ireland Minister. It is tendentious and ill-informed. It is also an attack - in which, if I may say so, the Green Group is also involved - upon my constituents in the north-west and everyone else who works in this most important and significant industry both in Britain and in other parts of the Union. This is not the time for a debate on nuclear power except to say that it is the future. It is one of the greenest ways of generating power anywhere in the world. The sooner we realise that the better.

I am delighted that my amendments in committee were significant in changing the nature of this report. I have tabled some more for the vote tomorrow, along similar lines. I am proud to be associated with the rejection of the original report and, I hope, the passing of the report as amended.

Top ↑